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Officer fired, arrested after child dies following ‘fight game’ inside youth detention center

The ex-officer, Thomas Lee Hicks, “allowed juveniles to participate in the game in his presence," the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said.

An officer who “allowed juveniles to participate in a fight game” inside a Georgia youth detention center has been fired and charged with murder after one of the children died, authorities said.

Thomas Lee Hicks was a juvenile correctional officer at the Waycross Regional Youth Detention Center, where the victim lost consciousness “in the presence of a staff member and other juveniles at the facility” on Aug. 9, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said in a statement.

The child was taken to Memorial Health Hospital in Savannah and died later. The juvenile's name and age were not released.

Hicks, 30, was arrested Tuesday on one count of second-degree murder, two counts of cruelty to children and one count of violation of oath of office after the state agency’s investigation revealed that he was the staff member who allowed the children to participate in the game.

Hicks is being held at the Ware County Jail, according to records. It is unclear whether he has a lawyer, and bail has not been set.

He was fired from the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice, Commissioner Tyrone Oliver said in a statement Wednesday.

“The Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) is deeply saddened by the passing of one of our youths,” Oliver said. “The actions of Mr. Hicks are deplorable and do not represent the core values of this agency.”