On Friday, June 20, 2008, at approximately 3:20 p.m., two inmates at the US Federal Penitentiary-Atwater took the life of Correctional Officer Jose Rivera. Officer Rivera was on the second tier of a housing unit attempting to place the two inmates, Joseph Cabrera Sablan and James Leon Guerrero, back into their cell. The inmates turned and began assaulting Officer Rivera, who tried to evade the assault by running to the ground floor. When Officer Rivera tripped, the two inmates caught him and resumed their attack using a homemade knife.
Responding staff successfully restrained both inmates and performed life saving measures. Officer Rivera was immediately transported to the nearest local hospital, where unfortunately, he died shortly there after.
Officer Rivera was born July 20, 1985 in Jacksonville, Cherokee County, Texas. He is survived by his Mother, Teresa Terry Rivera; brother, Daniel, sisters; Teresa, Martha and Angelica, his grandfather, Mateo Castro, and three nieces.
Officer Rivera Jose graduated from Le Grand High School. He joined the United States Navy on August 25, 2003 and received an Honorable discharge August 24, 2007. Jose then pursued a job in corrections and was currently employed as a Correctional Officer for the Atwater Penitentiary.
He was laid to rest in the Merced District Cemetery.