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5 correctional officers stabbed during riot at Centinela prison

February 22, 2001|By DARREN SIMON, Staff Writer

In one of the most violent inmate outbreaks in Centinela State Prison's history, 11 correctional officers were assaulted Wednesday, including five who were stabbed.

Prison Public Information Officer Deavonne Long said none of the correctional officers was seriously injured in the assaults, which occurred over more than an hour starting shortly after 3 p.m.

Those officers who did require hospital care were taken to Pioneers Memorial Hospital in Brawley by prison staffers. By 10 p.m. all had been released.

The assault took place in two housing units in the prison's Level 4 detention area. Each housing unit has about 200 inmates. About six inmates were involved in the assaults.


The first two attacks occurred within six minutes of each other and each involved one inmate assaulting one correctional officer.

Long said she is unsure what motivated the attacks.

Following those assaults, correctional officers moved to lock down Level 4 areas and that is when the next assaults occurred — one at 4:15 p.m. and the next after 5 p.m.

Two weapons were recovered from the scene of the attacks.

Long said while there have been outbreaks of violence at the prison, this was the first time so many correctional officers were injured.

She said in all the assaults correctional officers had to use pepper spray to control inmates. In one instance a rubber bullet was fired at inmates.

Long said the majority of the prison remains under lockdown today.

She said staff throughout the evening Wednesday searched the Level 4 areas for more weapons. No other weapons were found. She said a search for weapons throughout the entire prison would be done.

Those inmates involved in the attacks have been segregated and Long said the prison likely will seek charges of attempted murder and assault and battery.

She said an investigation into why the assaults occurred is ongoing.

Staff Writer Darren Simon can be reached at 337-4082.

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