MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A fallen officer has received a hero’s farewell Tuesday.
Oak Park Heights corrections officer Joe Parise, 37, died from an unknown medical emergency last week. It happened after he rushed to help a fellow officer under attack by an inmate.
“The inmate punched the correction officer in the face approximately 15 times,” Tim Henderson, AFSCME Council 5 associate director, said. “Joe ran across the entire prison complex when he got the call for help.”
Parise helped restrain the inmate.
Watch the funeral and procession:
“Joe then helped move the inmate to segregation. He said he wasn’t feeling well, returned to his unit where he was working right after the attack, and collapsed,” Henderson said.
Parise died at Regions Hospital in St. Paul. The officer who was attacked and another staff member were hurt. Both were treated and released.
The 300-seat chapel at Fort Snelling was filled to the brim Tuesday. Parise’s brothers and sisters in law enforcement filled the room, as did his other family. And on the front row sat Parise’s beloved wife, pregnant with their second child.
He was described as a Navy veteran, a giver, and a server. His a life story even brought the pastor to tears as he addressed Parise’s family.
“We will have your back every step of the way,” said prison chaplain and friend Most Rev. Martin Shanahan.
Friend and former officer James Carter gave the eulogy.
“Joe loved to have fun. He found humor in every situation, and it was that humor that made working in prison bearable,” Carter said.
And together they marveled that a man who worked a job that required bravery died displaying his own.
“He ran directly into the conflict to help his comrades, made sure everyone was safe and he returned to his post and only then did he succumb to the stress of the event and offer up his life,” Carter said. “Rest easy, we’ve got the watch command.”
There is still no word on what caused his death. A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the Parise family.