WEATHERFORD, Texas — A former Texas jail guard still becomes emotional when he thinks about the day several prisoners helped save his life when he suffered a massive heart attack.
"Instead of overtaking me and taking my gun, and killing me or taking a hostage and escaping, they looked at me as a human being," Gary Grimm told WFAA.
Grimm, 52, was guarding prisoners in a basement holding cell at the Parker County District Courthouse on June 23, 2016, when he suffered the heart attack.
“I just slumped and went out,” Grimm told WFAA. “Next thing I remember is looking up at the ceiling in the ER (emergency room).”
The incident was captured on a courthouse surveillance video.
"They thought I was kidding," Grimm told WFAA. "I wasn't."
Inmates began shouting and banging on the holding cell walls, eventually breaking free from the cell. Their noise was heard by deputies in the courtroom, who called for paramedics after investigating the ruckus.
Grimm, who worked for more than 20 years at Texas prisons and jails, retired in December because of his heart condition. He said he always treated most inmates with respect.
“I don't care if they're a drug user, hot check writer, or child molester. They're still a human being. I don't have to like what they did, but it's not my position to be the judge and jury,” Grimm told WFAA.
Grimm said he will undergo open heart surgery this week and will have a left ventricle assistance device installed.
"I need that for at least six months, and then maybe we can have a transplant," Grimm said.
He will get the chance for surgery thanks to the inmates that did not take advantage of Grimm’s incapacity.
"I get emotional. If they wished harm for me, all they had to do was sit there and do nothing,” Grimm told WFAA.
Friends have started a GoFundMe page to help the family with extra expenses as Grimm awaits a possible transplant.