California guards, 7 inmates sent to hospital after brawl

Guards hurt, inmates shot in Pelican Bay State Prison melee

Officials said the melee began when two inmates refused to break up a fistfight at the high-security prison around 10:25 a.m.in a maximum-security general population yard.

Six of the eight injured officers were treated and released.

"They all had like facial injuries, bumps, bruises, contusions", she said.

"I can't recall an incident like this where so many inmates just swarmed our staff like that, I really can't", said Thornton, who has been with the department for almost 20 years. Custody staff deployed chemical agents and batons in an effort to stop the fighting.

As results, eight staff members and seven inmates were taken to a hospital with injuries, including gunshot wounds sustained by five inmates.

An investigation by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation is under way.

"As staff continued to try to subdue the two inmates, large groups of inmates from various areas of the yard ran toward the incident", CDCR officials said, adding that officers from three armed posts fired a total of 19 bullets as the prisoners started attacking them. "They overwhelmed them. Overwhelmed is the word I heard again and again".

"The fact of the matter is, people take a risk when they work at a prison", Thornton said. Two inmate-made weapons were found at the scene, but Thornton said they appeared to be makeshift weapons that inmates seized during the fight and officials did not yet know if they were used on the officers.

But Thornton said inmates still are punished if they misbehave. Additionally, 97 inmates have been rehoused in the Administrative Segregation Unit.

"One of them may have suffered a puncture wound, but we don't have confirmation on that yet", she said.

Inmate movement at the prison has been limited while an investigation is carried out by a Deadly Force Investigations Team and the Office of Correctional Safety.

Counselors were sent to the prison to help employees recover.

In response, officers from 3 armed posts used lethal force in an attempt to stop the attack, firing at least 22 shots, majority from Mini-14 rifles.

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