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3 Inmates Injured in Racial Fight at County Jail in Castaic

March 15, 1994

CASTAIC — Three inmates suffered minor injuries Monday in a racially motivated fight involving about 20 inmates at two dormitories at the Pitchess jail, authorities said.

The injured inmates were treated at the jail infirmary for minor burns and bruises.

The fighting between African American and Latino inmates broke out about 1:20 p.m. in two 50-inmate dorms at the maximum-security North County Correctional Facility of the Peter J. Pitchess Honor Rancho, said Sgt. Robert Stoneman, a Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department spokesman.

Inmates obeyed orders to stop fighting at one of the dorms, but at the other, deputies had to use sting grenades--explosive devices that spray hundreds of small rubber pellets.

A search of both dorms turned up seven handmade jail knives commonly called "shanks," Stoneman said.

Four inmates in the second dorm are being held responsible for initiating the disturbance and will be charged with assault with deadly weapons and inciting a riot, Stoneman said.

In another disturbance, about 14 African American and Latino inmates clashed in a medium-security dormitory about 8:40 p.m. Sunday night, authorities said.

In January, more than 1,000 black and Latino inmates fought at the jail in what officials described as one of the biggest brawls in recent years in the county jail system.

The jail houses nearly 10,000 inmates at five facilities spread over 2,800 acres.

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