[He] could have died right there," inmate Nick Kelton said

By Tiare Dunlap
Updated July 08, 2016 12:10 PM

A group of Texas inmates broke free from their jail cell to save the life of a lone guard who collapsed after having a heart attack.

At least eight prisoners were behind a locked door in a holding cell in the District Courts Building in Weatherford, Texas, on June 23, when the sole guard watching them slumped over unconscious, WFAA reports.

“He just fell over,” inmate Nick Kelton told the news station. “Looked like an act. [He] could have died right there.”

The men who were all shackled tried shouting for help. When no one came, they broke out of their holding room, risking their own lives to help the guard who wishes to remain anonymous.

“We were worried they re going to come with guns drawn on us,” Kelton said.

After determining the guard had no pulse, the inmates screamed and banged on the doors, hoping to attract the attention of deputies upstairs.

Parker County Sheriff’s Sergeant Ryan Speegle said he thought the inmates were taking over when he rushed downstairs and found them standing over the guard.

“[The guard] had keys,” Speegle said. “Had a gun. It could have been an extremely bad situation.”

Still unsure what had occurred, Sgt. Speegle ushered the men back into the cell. Then deputies administered CPR and paramedics arrived and shocked the guard, who regained a pulse.

The inmates watched as life returned to the guard who had been chatting and joking with them moments before he collapsed.

“He’s a good man,” said Kelton, who described himself as a meth addict facing his fourth prison sentence.

Captain Mark Arnett said the men likely saved the guard’s life.

“He could have been there 15 minutes before any other staff walked in and found him,” he said.

Kelton said he and the other men were just doing the right thing.

“It never crossed my mind not to help whether he s got a gun or a badge,” he said. “If he falls down, I’m gonna help him.”