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N.Y. Prisoners Free Hostages, Then Surrender

August 02, 1988|Associated Press

COXSACKIE, N.Y. — Inmates complaining of harassment by officers at a maximum-security prison released five guards they held hostage for up to 14 hours Monday, officials said.

"The crisis has ended," Gov. Mario M. Cuomo said in a statement released early today. The inmates at the Coxsackie Correctional Facility surrendered, he said.

Four guards were released early today, said Cuomo spokesman Gary Fryer. One hostage was taken out on a stretcher and the three others walked out under their own power, he said.

Fryer said that he did not know the identity of the man on the stretcher or the extent of his injuries.

Late Monday, one guard had been released.

Head Injury Reported

One of the hostages had suffered a head injury and there were reports of other injuries, but their extent was unknown, spokesman James Flateau said.

There was no immediate explanation as to why the inmates released Warren Agostinoni, 28, who was taken by ambulance to a hospital, Flateau said. The guard was listed in fair condition at the Albany Medical Center with cuts and bruises, hospital spokeswoman Peggy Pitcher said.

Monday night, the inmates allowed the hostages to stand one at a time before a window, giving prison officials their first look at the five guards since they were seized more than nine hours earlier.

Flateau said that the guards looked to be in "reasonably good condition" but that some appeared to have cuts and bruises. He said the inmates allowed the guards to be seen "as a show of good faith, I guess."

Believed Armed With Knives

Earlier, officials said the 32 inmates believed to be involved were armed with homemade knives. But Flateau said Monday night he could not confirm that any knives were involved, and he said the complaints with harassment were no longer being discussed.

Flateau said that as of 11 p.m., Monday, the inmates had not given a list of demands to officials. He would not discuss negotiations but he did say they were continuing.

He said the inmates had controlled the console that operates their unit's gates and doors, which lead to other parts of the prison and a recreation yard.

But how the takeover occurred was not known, Flateau said.

Prison Supt. John Twomey, aided by a crisis intervention team, had communicated with some of the inmates, Flateau said.

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