LOMPOC, Calif. — Negotiations continued late Sunday night, hours after an inmate armed with a homemade knife took hostage a member of the medical staff of the federal penitentiary here, threatening to kill the man if he was not given drugs, authorities said.
The 27-year-old inmate asked for cigarettes and sedatives, but had not made any "significant" demands since taking the hostage about 9:45 a.m., said Charles LaRoe, executive assistant to the warden. "He's demanding drugs, which we're not going to give him."
However, the inmate may be intoxicated on drugs found in the emergency room, LaRoe said.
"He may have found something in there," LaRoe said. "We're still able to talk to him, though."
A team of prison negotiators remained in constant contact by telephone with the inmate, who was locked in the emergency room with the physician's assistant. Despite long talks, they had been unable to convince him to free the hostage, who was believed to be unharmed, LaRoe said.
"We're going to keep on going (throughout the night), whatever it takes," LaRoe said.
The inmate went to the hospital Sunday morning, claiming that he was sick, but pulled the homemade knife on the staff member once in the emergency room, he said.
Neither the name of the inmate nor the hostage were released. LaRoe said the inmate is serving a life sentence in the maximum-security section of the prison in Santa Barbara County for auto theft and kidnaping.