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Correctional officer killed at federal prison in Atwater

A federal correctional officer at U.S. Penitentiary Atwater is dead after being stabbed by inmates at the facility on Friday, according to Merced County Coroner Mark Pazin.

Although details are still sketchy, Pazin said the officer, identified as Jose Rivera, 22, was transported to Mercy Medical Center Merced after the stabbing. The FBI is conducting the investigation into the incident and Pazin said his office will conduct the autopsy.

Rivera was taken to the hospital at 3:30 p.m. and was pronounced dead at 4:15 p.m., Pazin said.

Pazin said Rivera's death underscores the dangers that correctional officers face every day.

“Our hearts go out to our fellow officers at the federal prison,” Pazin said. "Any time you lose an officer, it’s always traumatic.”

Prison officials said little about the stabbing. A statement released by the prison said two inmates stabbed the officer with "homemade weapon(s)."

“I cannot release any information at this time,” said Jesse Gonzalez, a spokesman for the prison.