Harris County Jail inmate accused of violently attacking, seriously injuring detention officer

A detention officer at the Harris County Jail is recovering after being attacked and beaten by an inmate Friday afternoon.

"Worst case scenario, I could of died," said HCSO Detention Officer J. Valdiviez. "According to others I flatlined, but I was brought back."

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The 28-year-old father spoke with FOX 26 over the phone Monday. He says he was treated for bruised ribs, cuts to his face, and a broken nose.

"I was getting ready for my birthday week, but this is what happens," said Valdiviez.

According to Valdiviez, he was on the "double lockdown" floor during the attack, where they hold the most violent inmates. Valdiviez says he had been walking downstairs when an inmate had been walking up. Court documents accuse Christian Miguel Dillard of striking Valdiviez several times.

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"I just remember my head hitting several things on the way down," said Valdiviez. "I know once I made it down the stairwell, I was completely out."

Dillard has an extensive criminal history, including a capital murder charge, and has been in the Harris County Jail since 2020. Most recently, he’s accused of assaulting law enforcement members four times over the last seven years.

"If we would have had better control of how we staff our personnel, or how we staff every floor in general, I’m pretty sure the situation could have been avoided," said Valdiviez.

For months, FOX 26 has investigated safety concerns and overcrowding issues at the Harris County Jail.  In 2022, 28 inmates died at the facility.

"I am grateful that Detention Officer Valdiviez is at home recovering from the injuries he suffered at the hands of a capital murder defendant, who has been in our jail since April 17, 2020," said HCSO Sheriff Ed Gonzalez. "We work hard to make our jail safe for everyone who lives and works there. That’s no easy task in an overcrowded facility that houses more than 800 people charged with murder or capital murder.  I want to commend DO Valdiviez, his colleagues who intervened within seconds to stop the attack, and everyone who bravely reports for duty each day in Texas’ largest county jail. Anyone who harms our public servants will be held accountable, and we will continue striving to make our jail safe."

Dillard is expected in court Tuesday. Valdiviez says he plans to continue working at the Harris County Jail.