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PRESS RELEASE: Stafford Creek Correctional Officer Dies From COVID-19

Released June 18, 2021

Contact Jacque Coe, (360) 890-0381

Communications Office

image of gabriel forrest in uniform

Correctional Officer Gabriel Forrest

TUMWATER – The Washington State Department of Corrections was notified that Correctional Officer Gabriel Forrest, 42 years of age, passed away on Thursday, June 17, 2021 from complications of COVID-19.

“Words do not seem adequate to express our sorrow at the loss of Correctional Officer Gabriel Forrest. Our hearts and prayers go to Gabe’s family for their loss and sacrifice,” said Secretary Cheryl Strange. “We grieve their loss, as does the extended family of the Stafford Creek Corrections Center.”

Forrest started his career as a correctional officer at Stafford Creek, was regarded as outstanding by colleagues and leadership, and was honored in 2018 with the Department of Corrections Agency Officer of the Year award representing Stafford Creek Corrections Center. Gabe started his career with Stafford Creek Corrections Center on August 1, 2002 as a correctional officer and has provided dedicated service to the Department of Corrections and the State of Washington during this time.

“Gabe was a very kind and caring person--I have never heard anyone say a bad thing about him.” said Ron Haynes, Superintendent at Stafford Creek Corrections Center. “He was one of the most humble people I have known, and he will be missed.”

Consistent with the Health Emergency Labor Standards Act (HELSA) (pdf), the Department is proceeding on the presumption that his death was work-related. The Department will review Officer Forrest’s death as a possible line of duty death. For that review, the Department will consult with the following entities: Public Safety Officers’ Benefits Program, National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, Washington State Law Enforcement Memorial-Behind the Badge Foundation and the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries