More than 2,000 attend funeral service for Md. correctional officer in Atlantic City, N.J.

`Dreamer' is remembered by friends, colleagues, family


ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -- The motorcade that pulled up to the convention center here yesterday was three miles long, carrying more than 1,200 Maryland Division of Correction employees to this beachfront resort for the funeral of colleague David Mc Guinn, who was killed last week during an attack by inmates at the Maryland House of Correction in Jessup.

The Maryland officers were joined by hundreds of other correctional workers and police from along the East Coast to honor a man remembered by friends and family as an unselfish public servant of deep religious and moral conviction who was equally devoted to his children and his job with equal measure. More than 2,000 people attended.

"When I consider David, I see a dreamer, and dreamers are important in our society," said his brother, Victor T. McGuinn. "David's dream was to be engaged in meaningful employment in the field of law enforcement. He realized his dream."

Before the service in McGuinn's hometown, hundreds of mourners and law enforcement officers from Maryland, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island quietly filed by McGuinn's open casket, which was flanked by more than 20 flower wreaths.

"We consider ourselves a brotherhood," said John Bray of the Rhode Island Brotherhood of Correctional Officers, who made the five-hour drive Wednesday with seven other officers. "When a tragedy like this happens, it affects all of us."

McGuinn was stabbed to death July 25. Investigators think two inmates jammed open their cell doors to prevent them from locking or unlocked the doors. At the time of the killing, the prison was on high alert because of rumors that inmates were planning an attack.

The 42-year-old McGuinn was known to his colleagues in Maryland as a private man of remarkable discipline, a correctional officer whose commitment to prison rules earned him the nickname "Homeland Security."

"I didn't even know he had kids until he died," one of his supervisors at the House of Correction, Sgt. Damean Stewart, said after the funeral yesterday.

McGuinn's large family and its deep roots in Atlantic City were evident yesterday when Mayor Robert Levy noted that McGuinn's career in public safety was a legacy of his grandfather, an Atlantic City policeman, and his mother, Janice E. McGuinn.

"I am here to pass along our city's condolences to the family," said Levy. "To his mother, Janice, who just retired as a crossing guard, who protected our children every morning in good weather and bad weather. Thank you for your service. There are no words that I can say."

Levy recalled knowing McGuinn when he was a security manager at a local hospital.

"He always had a smile on his face, always. He had a great work ethic, and that all came from a great family," he said.

Through a spokeswoman, Mc- Guinn's family requested privacy but said they will soon establish a scholarship fund for Mc- Guinn's children, Zacary, 8, and Shayna, 10. An obituary read at the service said McGuinn also is survived by a stepdaughter, Ayisha.

McGuinn was the second Maryland prison officer killed on duty this year.

Two Atlantic City law enforcement officers have been killed on the job in the past 28 months, and city officials said yesterday that they consider McGuinn - a native of the city - to be the third. Many speakers yesterday also honored his comrades in uniform for their commitment to a dangerous profession.

"Men today have the hearts of ferocious animals, seeking to kill," said family friend Michael Garris, addressing the large hall packed with mourners.

"To you police officers who every day to go out and walk the streets and face that beast, to you correctional officers, men and women who work in the jails, in the prisons, you're at the mouth of the beast. We want to thank you for protecting us."

In the tradition of the family's Jehovah's Witness faith, Garris then delivered a discourse that looked to Scripture for meaning behind McGuinn's murder.

"The next thing David will notice is that Jehovah is going to be waking him up," Garris said, "and he's going to come out a healthy baby."

Garris said McGuinn was not a self-identified Jehovah's Witness but was an active student of the Christian denomination.

Maryland prisons chief Frank C. Sizer directed his remarks to McGuinn's children, saying, "Shayna, Ayisha and Zacary, I know your father will be proud of you, and I know you will have many successes in life. I know there is a solid family behind you, but you are also a member of the Maryland Division of Correction family and we will always be there for you."

That family was there in force yesterday. State prison officials said the Maryland law enforcement officers gathered at Jessup at 5 a.m. yesterday for the four-hour caravan to New Jersey. It was made up of six buses, 60 vans and about 100 personal vehicles.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.