A total of eight California prison guards and seven inmates were taken to hospitals after a fight between two prisoners Wednesday, quickly raged out of control in a riot that took live ammunition to stop, the officials said.
Prison officials fired 19 bullets from semi-automatic rifles and three hard foam rounds to break up the melee at Pelican Bay State Prison located in Crescent City near the Oregon border, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said in a press release.
Five of the seven injured inmates suffered gunshot wounds, according to prison officials, which are not immediately known make of their situation.
Six of the eight injured guards were treated and released. Two, however, remain in the hospital with what officials called “significant” injuries, but are expected to be released soon.
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The officials said the melee began when the two prisoners refused to break up a fist fight at the high-security prison around 10:25 p.m. in a maximum-security general population yard.
Large groups of prisoners then ran in the direction of the battle and attacked the guards. Responding staff used chemical agents and batons to subdue the prisoners, but they refused to stop fighting, according to officials.
Prison officials said two inmates weapons were recovered, but it appears not in this time, they were used in the attack.
The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation sent a Deadly Force Investigations Team to the prison to see the behavior of the criminal and administrative investigation into the incident.
Pelican Bay State Prison located in Del Norte County, is made up of two maximum-security facilities, two security housing unit facilities, a minimum-support facility, and a short-term limited property, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
The prison was opened in 1989, currently houses about 2,000 inmates and employs approximately 1,300 people.