One of Pelican Bay's 11 perimeter guard towers.
Pelican Bay State Prison officers opened fire on a group of inmates who allegedly attacked staff members trying to break up a fistfight this morning, sending five to the hospital with gunshot wounds, according to a California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation press release.
Eight staff members were also hurt and two remained hospitalized, the CDCR reports.Their injuries were described as “significant but not life-threatening” and the release states “they are expected to be released soon.”
A Deadly Force Investigations Team from the corrections department has been sent to the prison to conduct a criminal and administrative investigation into the use of deadly force. The Office of the Inspector General was notified and the CDCR states investigators from the Office of Correctional Safety are also being sent to the Crescent City prison known for housing some of the state’s most notorious prisoners.
Several Pelican Bay prisoners helped trigger a 2013 prison hunger strike that brought national attention to solitary confinement practices in the state.
Read the full release from the CDCR below:
CRESCENT CITY ― Pelican Bay State Prison (PBSP) officials are investigating an incident that sent eight officers to the hospital with injuries.
At 10:25 a.m. today, custody staff responded to a fistfight between two inmates on the B Facility maximum-security general population yard. Responding staff used chemical agents and batons to subdue the inmates; however, they refused to stop fighting.
As staff continued to try to subdue the two inmates, large groups of inmates from various areas of the yard ran toward the incident. The officers were overwhelmed as the inmates started attacking them. Officers from three armed posts used lethal force to stop the attacks firing a total of 19 .223 rounds from the mini-14 rifle and three 40-millimeter direct impact rounds.
Two inmate-made weapons were recovered; however, it does not appear at this time they were used in the attack.
Eight staff members were taken to an outside hospital with injuries. Six were treated and released and two are still hospitalized. Their injuries are significant but not life-threatening and they are expected to be released soon.
Seven inmates were also taken to outside hospitals, five of them for treatment of gunshot wounds.
PBSP officials have limited inmate movement throughout the entire institution to facilitate their investigation and they rehoused 97 inmates in the Administrative Segregation Unit.
The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation sent a Deadly Force Investigations Team to the prison to conduct the criminal and administrative investigation into the use of deadly force. CDCR is also sending investigators from its Office of Correctional Safety. The Office of the Inspector General was notified.
The Peer Support Program was activated. The program ensures CDCR employees involved in work-related critical incidents are provided with intervention and resources to cope with the traumatic effects.
PBSP, located in Del Norte County, is comprised of two maximum-security facilities, two security housing unit facilities, a minimum-support facility and a short-term restricted housing unit. The prison provides treatment for mentally ill inmates and provides work, academic, career technical education, self-help and other rehabilitative programs. PBSP also has a firehouse with eight fulltime inmate firefighters. PBSP opened in 1989, currently houses approximately 2,000 inmates and employs approximately 1,300 people.