An inmate at the Randall Williams Unit correctional facility in Pine Bluff died of an apparent suicide yesterday, authorities said. David Shabazz, 53, was found at 6:30 p.m. last night hanging from the cell bars with a bed sheet wrapped around his neck.

From a press release issued by the state’s Department of Corrections this morning:


Shabazz was housed in a single-man cell and had tied clothing around the door to make it more difficult for officers to enter. Once the door was opened, correctional officers began life-saving efforts, which were continued by medical staff.  Shabazz was taken by ambulance to Jefferson Regional Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 7:26 p.m.

Shabazz was serving a 20-year sentence for manufacture, deliver and possession of a controlled substance. He was sentenced February 21, 2002, in Miller county. Shabazz paroled in August 2007 but absconded supervision four times. On August 16, 2019, he was sent to the Division of Community Correction’s Omega Supervision Sanction Center for absconding. He was transferred to ADC on December 4, 2019, as a discipline problem. On December 12, he was placed in restrictive housing at the Randall Williams Unit for a rule violation. He remained in restrictive housing at the time of the hanging.

Shabazz’s body has been sent to the Medical Examiner’s office for a cause of death determination, and the Arkansas State Police is investigating his death.