Calif. prison quells fight involving 70 inmates
FOLSOM, Calif. (AP) — Guards quelled a fight among some 70 inmates at Folsom State Prison on Tuesday by firing warning shots and using pepper spray.
There were no serious injuries to inmates or employees in the disturbance that broke out shortly before noon, Correctional Lt. Paul Baker said.
The fighting started on the basketball court and quickly spread to other inmates in the main exercise yard at the prison about 20 miles east of Sacramento. About 650 inmates were in the yard at the time.
"We do believe it was gang related," Baker said. "It could be something as little as a disrespect issue."
No inmate-made weapons were found, and the minor scrapes and bruises were consistent with fistfights, he said. Three warning shots were fired to help stop the fight in less than five minutes and prevent more serious injuries.
The cause of the disturbance is under investigation. Inmates remained mostly locked in their cells, but those not involved in the fighting could be released as early as Wednesday.
"They're reviewing the video tapes of the incident as part of the investigation. They'll get down to the bottom as to who started the riot," Baker said.
The medium-security prison houses more than 3,100 inmates, and is California's second oldest prison, opening in 1880. It is located next door to California State Prison, Sacramento, where 150 inmates rioted in December, sending 11 inmates to outside hospital.
Last month, a convicted child molester was fatally assaulted at Folsom State Prison. Two inmates are being held but have not been charged in the death of 44-year-old Richard Allen Leonard. He was serving a 25 year to life term after being convicted in 1998 in Orange County for aggravated sexual assault on a child.
Baker said that assault was not related to Tuesday's fighting.