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Inmate charged with felonies in Holding Center attack on deputies

An inmate who allegedly attacked two Erie County sheriff’s deputies at the county Holding Center last weekend has been charged with two felony counts of assaulting a police officer.

Jacob Melvin was also charged with a misdemeanor count of obstructing governmental administration, Undersheriff Mark Wipperman reported Wednesday. He was being held on $100,000 bail related to several unspecified charges before the City of Buffalo and county courts.

The incident was one of two reported attacks against deputies in the Holding Center last weekend.

Deputies Christopher Lenhardt and Samuel Alfonso were delivering lunch to Melvin when they were attacked Saturday, Wipperman said. As Lenhardt opened the cell door, Melvin allegedly charged him and begin hitting him with his fists.

When Alfonso tried to secure the inmate, he was punched in the head and body, Wipperman said.

Sgt. James Balys arrived and sprayed the inmate with pepper spray, the undersheriff said. After the inmate fell to the ground, he was secured.

Lenhardt suffered scrapes and upper body injuries, while Alfonso suffered a leg injury, Wipperman said. Both were evaluated by medical personnel before they were taken to Erie County Medical Center for further treatment.

A second incident took place Sunday morning. Deputy Jason Hicks was escorting medical personnel to evaluate inmate Marc Murphy when he was attacked after opening the cell door. Wipperman said Hicks fended off the first attack, then restrained Murphy after he charged again.

Murphy faces criminal and disciplinary charges related to the attacks, Wipperman said. Murphy was held on $10,000 bail stemming from charges pending in City Court.

Both inmates were transferred to the disciplinary segregation block at the Holding Center.