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3 Inmates Hurt in Riot at Prison in Tehachapi

February 27, 2005|From a Times Staff Writer

TEHACHAPI, Calif. — Three inmates were injured in a riot last week that involved more than 400 men at the state prison here, authorities said.

Guards used pepper spray and tear gas to quell the melee, which erupted about 6 p.m. Thursday in one of the prison dormitories, said Todd Slosek, spokesman for the California Department of Corrections. The brawl lasted about 40 minutes.

"This is the largest riot we've seen since the Pelican Bay riots," Slosek said, referring to February 2000 unrest at the Northern California prison that left one inmate dead.

Most of the prisoners involved in the Tehachapi riot were black and Latino, but it was unclear whether race was a factor in the disturbance, Slosek said. At least four homemade weapons were recovered, he said.

More than 200 inmates were moved to other prisons as a precaution, while the rest are under indefinite lockdown as an investigation continues, Slosek said.

He credited prison officials guards for the low number of injuries.

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