19-year-old man dies while in Harris County Jail after fight with another inmate, HCSO confirms


HOUSTON – A Harris County Jail inmate died Sunday at Ben Taub Hospital after being involved in a physical altercation with another inmate late Friday evening, the sheriff’s office said Monday.

Authorities said it was not clear what led to the fight.

According to a news release, at about 11:16 p.m. on Friday, detention officers responded to an altercation between two male inmates in a holding cell on the third floor of the 1200 Baker Street jail facility.

Fred Harris, 19, was found unresponsive and severely injured. Authorities said he was immediately taken to the jail medical unit for treatment and transported to Ben Taub Hospital at about 11:51 p.m. on Friday for further care. He was pronounced deceased at about 6:15 p.m. on Sunday.

Harris was booked into the county jail on Oct. 11 on charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon from the Houston Police Department.

The other inmate involved in the fight, 25-year-old Michael Ownby, was not hospitalized after the incident, authorities said. The Harris County Sheriff’s Office booked Ownby into the county jail on Oct. 28 on charges of assault on a public servant, continuous violence against the family, and evading arrest.

After the assault on Harris, Harris County Sheriff’s Office personnel filed an aggravated assault causing a serious bodily injury charge against Ownby.

The Texas Rangers are conducting an independent investigation into Harris’ death in accordance with state law and policy. The Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences will conduct an autopsy.

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