Prison officers were summoned to the B Facility, Pelican Bay State Prison, to break up a fistfight at 10:25 a.m. yesterday. The fight between two inmates – in the prison’s maximum security general population yard – ensued and it raged on even after officers used batons and pepper spray. The two continued fighting as officers tried subduing them.

The officers were outnumbered and overwhelmed when other inmates, in large groups, ran toward the fight and began attacking the officers. In an effort to stop the attacks, officers from three gun towers used lethal force. LA Times reported that a total of 19 rounds were fired from semi-automatic rifles.

Three hard foam rounds were also used.

Seven inmates injured and eight officers injured

Terry Thornton is a spokeswoman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR). She said a total of seven inmates were injured. Three, of five inmates who sustained gunshot wounds, were admitted to outside hospitals for treatment. One inmate needed a higher level of care and was airlifted to a different hospital.

Of the eight Officers Injured and taken to an outside hospital, two remain hospitalized. Though the officers’ injuries were not life-threatening, one will need shoulder surgery for an injury. Thornton said it’s frightening when inmates swarm, overwhelm and attack officers.

Pelican Bay State Prison, outside of Crescent City, California, houses approximately 2,000 high-security inmates.

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At the time of the initial fighting incident, several hundred inmates were in the prison’s exercise yard.

Inmate movement restricted

Inmate movement throughout the prison facility has been restricted. The riot is under investigation. With the ongoing investigation, 97 inmates have been placed in the Administrative Segregation Unit. Thornton said that 97 inmates being rehoused is an indication that they were involved at some level.

At this time, it is unknown if it was gang-related or the attack on corrections officers was planned, according to Thornton.

A Deadly Force Investigations Team was sent to the prison by the CDCR. The team will undertake the criminal and administrative investigation concerning the use of deadly force. Investigators from the CDCR’s Office of Correctional Safety are also being sent to investigate. Notice was also given to the Office of the Inspector General.

To ensure CDCR employees involved are provided with coping resources, following the traumatic events, the Peer Support Program was also activated.

Pelican Bay State Prison, near the Oregon border, has approximately 1,300 employees.

Prior, most recent California prison riot also 2017

The last prison riot under CDCR was in March 2017 at the California Correctional Center in Susanville, which is a minimum security facility located roughly 200 miles northeast of Sacramento. An inmate reportedly attacked an officer in the dining hall. Approximately 30 prisoners swarmed and began attacking the responding officers, punching, and kicking. They threw food trays or broke them – over the officers’ heads.

Non-lethal projectiles, pepper spray, and physical force were used to quell the riot within minutes. The outcome was a corrections counselor who suffered a broken thumb and four officers were treated for bruises and minor cuts. One inmate sustained a broken orbital socket.