Prison Riot in California Injures Guards and Inmates

by | May 25, 2017 AT 11:00 AM

By Erin Allday

At least eight law enforcement officers and seven inmates were injured Wednesday morning in a riot at Pelican Bay State Prison that ended when guards fired live ammunition into the crowd, state corrections officials said.

All of those injured were taken to outside hospitals for treatment. Two of the prison staff members remained hospitalized with "significant" but non-life-threatening injuries, officials said. Five of the seven inmates were being treated for gunshot wounds, but their conditions were not immediately available Wednesday afternoon.

The riot at the prison in Crescent City (Del Norte County) started with a fistfight between two inmates in the maximum-security general population yard. About 10:30 a.m., officers responding to the fight used chemical agents and batons to try to break it up. But large groups of inmates ran into the yard and quickly overwhelmed the officers, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

As the melee grew out of control, officers from three armed posts fired 19 shots into the yard. Officers also fired at least three nonlethal foam rounds to quash the brawl.

Two inmate-made weapons were recovered after the fight, although it wasn't clear whether they were used in the riot, officials said.

Prison officials have restricted inmate movement throughout the facility while the riot is under investigation, and 97 inmates were placed in isolation units.

The Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation sent a team to the prison to investigate the use of deadly force. The department also is sending investigators from its Office of Correctional Safety.

Pelican Bay State Prison, near the Oregon border, houses about 2,000 inmates and has a staff of about 1,300. The prison has two maximum-security facilities.

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