8 injured after riot involving more than 100 inmates at Arizona prison; unit on lockdown

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

8 hurt after fight involving 100 at Ariz. prison

PHOENIX — A fight broke out Wednesday among more than 100 inmates at an Arizona prison, injuring 7 inmates and a corrections officer, a corrections official said.

The officer suffered bumps and bruises, and five of the inmates were flown to a Phoenix hospital, Arizona Department of Corrections spokesman Barrett Marson said. The prison was on lockdown for several hours, he added.

The two other inmates were taken by vehicle, while the officer did not need to go to the hospital.

Several of the inmates had head injuries but none of the injuries were life-threatening, said Michael Murphy, spokesman for the Maricopa Medical Center.

Marson said no weapons were used in the fight, which broke out around 9 a.m. in a high-security unit of the Lewis prison complex, about 35 miles west of Phoenix. It was mostly in the recreation yard and the kitchen.

He said the reason why the fight broke out was under investigation.

Marson said prison guards ended the fight with verbal commands and by using pepper spray on some inmates.

“It was a quick response by officers that ensured limited injuries and ensured staff and inmates were protected,” Marson said.

The Lewis prison near Buckeye was the site of what is believed to be the longest prison standoff in U.S. history.

In January 2004, two inmates took two correctional officers hostage, resulting in a 15-day standoff before they surrendered. It occurred after officers in the prison’s kitchen were overpowered by two inmates, and an officer allowed one of the inmates — disguised in a uniform taken from an overpowered officer — into the prison tower.

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