CRESCENT CITY, Calif. - As of Thursday, May 25, officers said four inmates remained hospitalized with gunshot wounds and three officers are still recovering after a riot broke out at Pelican Bay State Prison Wednesday morning.
According to prison staff, prison guards were forced to open fire when they were ambushed by more than 100 inmates. Staff said they fired 19 rifle bullets and three hard foam bullets in an effort to stop the attack.
Seven inmates and eight correctional officers were injured in the incident. Officials said all officers had been treated and released. They said one officer suffered a fractured eye socket and will need surgery for a torn shoulder. Another suffered a broken nose and a third needed stitches to treat a wound on his left eye.
One inmate will undergo surgery after being shot in the chin, and four others were shot in the arms and legs, according to investigators.
Officials are still unsure of what sparked the riot, but said the investigation will continue.
“We’re still trying to put the pieces together,” said Lieutenant Jessica Berg from Pelican Bay State Prison. “We need to make sure an incident like this doesn’t happen again."
Officials said the fight began at around 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, May 24, when two inmates refused to break up a fight.
“There was an initial fight and our staff responded to it,” Berg said, “and as they were responding and dealing with that incident, that’s when several inmates got up and attacked our staff.”
Berg said batons and guns had to be used to attempt to control the situation.
“It was extremely scary for all of us,” Berg said. “Very sickening."