Pelican Bay State Prison witnessed an extreme brawl sparked On Wednesday between inmates and correction officers, leaving seven inmates and eight guards admitted to hospital.
The brawl was purportedly provoked after two inmates went fist-fighting, which, in turn, urged guards to half the melee firing 19 bullets from semi-automatic rifles and three hard foam rounds and using pepper spray and batons. Nonetheless, other inmates including high-security ones rushed into the melee.
A spokeswoman for California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Terry Thornton announced: “They just ran toward the incident from several areas of the yard and just rushed the officers. They overwhelmed them. Overwhelmed is the word I heard again and again.”
“I can’t recall an incident like this where so many inmates just swarmed our staff like that, I really can’t. Believe it or not, staff assaults of varying degrees happen every day. But oftentimes it’s just someone being resistant.”
Five of the seven injured inmates suffered gunshot injuries. One inmate was admitted to a hospital on a plane for intensive care. In addition to three inmates who are admitted to hospitals and two others were sent back to prison.
All the wounded guards have undergone treatment and were released; however, one of the officers will undergo a surgery for an injured shoulder.
Two weapons made by inmates were found. The weapons were proved to be knocked over by the inmates during the brawl. However, investigators are still uncertain whether the weapons were used on officers.
“One of them may have suffered a puncture wound, but we don’t have confirmation on that yet,” she said.
“They all had like facial injuries, bumps, bruises, contusions,” she said. “It’s a frightening incident. It’s frightening to have inmates just swarm you … to overwhelm you and attack you.”
Is it orchestrated by the inmates?
Police are still investigating into the prospects whether the brawl was orchestrated by the inmates against the correctional officers or it was gang-related.
Counselors have headed to the prison to help employees recover.
“We’re encouraged that the officers weren’t injured more than they were,” Thornton said.