Luzerne County sheds new light on Mackey case

By Ed Lewis and Dan Stokes - [email protected]
Shaheen Mackey is seen in his hospital bed last week, in a photo provided by his daughter. - Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader

WILKES-BARRE — Shaheen Mackey suffered a medical emergency while being restrained by corrections officers at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility last Wednesday, prison officials said Monday.

But further details about the incident — and about Mackey’s death two days later at Wilkes-Barre General Hospital — remain unknown pending the outcome of two investigations and a lengthy autopsy, however.

As first reported Sunday by the Times Leader, Mackey, 41, died Friday at the hospital, where he lay unconscious and covered in bruises.

Mackey’s daughter, Tatiyanne “Tati” Mackey, 17, and a friend, Star Ward, told the Times Leader on Sunday that hospital staff advised them prison officials reported Mackey suffered a seizure. Tati said her father begun having seizures in November, but no cause had been diagnosed in previous hospital visits, when scans came back normal.

The condition of Mackey’s body when Tati saw her father in the hospital leads her to suspect that a seizure could not have resulted in internal bleeding and his face, legs, arms and pelvic area being bruised.

An autopsy was performed Monday by forensic pathologist Dr. Gary Ross, but no ruling has been made pending the results of toxicology screenings, and no results will be released until an investigation by the county District Attorney’s office is complete.

“We were thorough and took as much time as we needed to take,” county Deputy Coroner Dan Hughes said when asked about the procedure.

Mackey had been brought to the facility at about 1:30 p.m. Wednesday after being picked up in Columbia County on a Luzerne County Protection From Abuse warrant.

According to the press release issued on behalf of Mark Rockovich, the county’s director of correctional services:

• Mackey was processed by LCCF staff and placed in general population.

• Correctional officers were called to Mackey’s cell block around 6 p.m. for a report that he was “behaving aggressively,” and they “were forced to restrain Mr. Mackey” in order to defuse the situation.

• While the officers were restraining Mackey “he required medical attention,” the statement indicates, but does not elaborate.

• While the officers were restraining Mackey, Mackey required medical attention. Facility staff administered CPR to Mackey and called for an ambulance. He was transported to the hospital.

• Due to Mackey’s medical condition, the warrant he was being held on was lifted by a county judge based on a petition from Chief Public Defender Steven Greenwald on Thursday, while he was a patient at Wilkes-Barre General Hospital.

• The matter was referred to the Luzerne County District Attorney’s Office for investigation, and LCCF is conducting its own internal investigation.

“Due to the fact that this matter is considered to be an open investigation, no further comment will be made on behalf of Luzerne County until the investigation is completed,” the statement concludes.

A message left for District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis was not returned Monday. She did acknowledge Sunday that her office is investigating Mackey’s death.

Pedri told the Times Leader on Sunday that video recordings and statements from witnesses have been sent to the district attorney’s office.

Tati showed reporters photos of her hospital in the hospital with an endotrachial tube and a drainage tube inserted. The endotrachial tube inserted down Mackey’s airway permitted him to breath and exhale and the drainage tube contained a bloody discharge from his stomach.

The images also show Mackey suffered a bruised right eye and other bruises on many parts of his body, including his buttocks and groin.

For more on the case, click here.

Shaheen Mackey is seen in his hospital bed last week, in a photo provided by his daughter. Mackey is seen in his hospital bed last week, in a photo provided by his daughter. Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader

By Ed Lewis and Dan Stokes

[email protected]