Two staff members at an Iowa state penitentiary have been killed by an inmate. The yet-unnamed correctional officer and nurse were among those attacked on Tuesday, reported KCRG, an ABC affiliate in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

The attack occurred just after 10:00 a.m. local time. Department officials said multiple staff members were assaulted before correctional officers could restrain the perpetrator. First aid was performed while paramedics were en route.

Officials were light on details, declining to name the victims until next-of-kin could be notified.

Gov. Kim Reynolds called the attack “tragic and heinous,” pledging justice for the families of the victims.

“Today, our state grieves the loss of two public servants who were attacked while on duty at the Anamosa State Penitentiary,” she said. “My prayers and deepest condolences are with their families, friends, and colleagues as they begin to cope with this senseless tragedy. We will exhaust every available resource to deliver justice to those who committed this act and bring a sense of closure and peace to the victims’ families.”

Reau penitentiary
A prison watchtower is seen at Reau penitentiary, near Paris, France, Sept. 24, 2013. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

Danny Homan, president of the employees’ union AFSCME Council 61, also released a statement commemorating the slain workers.

“No one should ever have to go to work and worry about whether they will come home or not. Unfortunately for two Iowans who had committed their lives to keeping our communities safe, they won’t be going home tonight,” he said. “Our prayers are with their families, co-workers and loved ones during this time, and we will do everything we can to honor their memory.”

The Des Moines Register notes that the medium- to high-security facility houses a high number of violent offenders, with 70% of the 950 prisoners convicted of violent crimes. The average sentence is 25 years.