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Veteran Texas correctional officer dies from COVID-19

The TDCJ has had 61 employees who have died in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic.

TYLER, Texas — The Texas Department of Criminal Justice is mourning the loss of an East Texas employee who died form COVID-19.

According to the TDCH, 48-year-old Chris Watson, a correctional officer at the Hodge Unit in Rusk died Wednesday.

Officer Watson tested positive for COVID-19 on Aug. 26 and was admitted to a Tyler hospital on Aug 29.  

He began his TDCJ career in May 1994. He worked at the Memorial (formerly Darrington) Unit starting in September 2009 and came to the Hodge Unit in October 2017.

“Officer Watson served this agency for 26 years with honor. His commitment to the citizens of Texas will not be forgotten,” said TDCJ Executive Director Bryan Collier. “We extend our deepest condolences to his family, friends, and co-workers on his passing.”

Hodge Unit Senior Warden Larry Berger said Watson was an asset and was well-respected by his supervisors and co-workers. 

“He was a quiet individual, but when he spoke, he always had a message of uplifting thoughts or words of encouragement.” he added.

The TDCJ has had 61 employees who have died in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic.