Charges in jail brawl expected on Wednesday

February 19, 2002|By DARREN SIMON, Staff Writer

County Sheriff's Office officials have until Wednesday to determine whether to seek charges against 16 jail inmates involved in a brawl Friday.

Investigators said this morning they will meet with the District Attorney's Office today to determine what if any charges will be filed.

The final decision rests with the DA.

Authorities this morning were continuing to investigate the melee to determine a motive. They said while race may have been a factor in how inmates took sides in the fight, it may have not been what led to the brawl.

The fight occurred as 20 inmates were released into the recreation yard for a three-hour period. The brawl erupted between two Native American inmates and Hispanic inmates and grew as others became involved.


Three people suffered minor cuts and authorities retrieved two jail-made weapons — both spoons with the handles sharpened into points.

Sheriff Harold Carter said Monday the majority of those involved were in custody on parole violations — meaning they had served time in prison and were back in jail awaiting court dates on other alleged violations.

Carter said authorities are looking into whether the dispute had been brewing over the week as a result of other incidents in the jail.

Officers in full riot gear broke up the fight and placed the jail under lockdown as a search was conducted for other weapons. Officers used tear gas on one inmate who refused to leave his cell during the search.

Authorities are considering seeking attempted murder charges against 16 inmates involved in the fight.

The following names and ages of the 16 held under suspicion of attempted murder were listed on the office's log: Francisco Daniel Alvarez, 40, of El Centro; Manuel Sandoval Avina, 60, of El Centro; Ivan Lopez Garcia, 22, of Brawley; Luis Gomez, 20, of El Centro; Pablo Vargas Hernandez, 27, of El Centro; Johnny Albert Jaime, 39, of Oceanside; Mike Gonzalez Jimenez, 30, of El Centro; Ruben Antonio Martinez, 38, of El Centro; Rey Manuel Ayon Montaño, 20, of Imperial, John Martin Patton, 38, of El Centro; Angel Peña, 29, of El Centro; Gabriel Juan Reyes, 26, of Brawley; Abel Vasquez-Bojorquez, 30, of the state of Sinaloa, Mexico; Michael Lopez Velarde, 20, of El Centro; Juan Francisco Velasquez, 34, of Heber and Jose Manuel Zepeda, 33, no home town listed.

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

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