A San Quentin State Prison inmate returned to the facility today after he was transported to an outside hospital this morning for treatment of injuries sustained during what a correctional lieutenant said was a "concerted, orchestrated attack."
The man and his attackers, who were all Hispanic inmates that belonged to the West Block, were in the exercise yard at about 8:50 a.m. yesterday when the group of at least five men began attacking the lone victim, Lt. Sam Robinson said.
His attackers used slashing and puncture type weapons, what Robinson characterized as "inmate-made weapons," on the man before staff who observed the fight-in-progress used pepper spray and "less lethal rounds" to "quell" the men, he said.
Inmates sometimes construct the improvised weapons, according to Robinson, by altering prison-issued shaving blades or cutting scrap metal from otherwise harmless objects.
"There are a slew of ways that inmates acquire weapons," he said.
The victim was transported to an outside hospital for treatment of injuries that were not life-threatening, and Robinson said last night that the inmate had returned to the prison.
The inmates were assigned to the West Block, which is sometimes referred to as the prison's revolving door because it is the reception facility that processes and reassigns new commitments.
Robinson said that inmates typically stay there for fewer than 90 days until they can be assigned to an institution suitable for their housing, ranging from low-level to maximum-level security facilities.
Since this morning's attack, the housing unit had been placed on a modified program pending an investigation, Robinson said, meaning that its 814 men are only allowed to leave their cells for medical appointments.
The reception center intakes inmates from 19 counties surrounding and including those in the Bay Area.
Robinson said he did not yet have information on when the victim was initially admitted to the prison, but said he was "fairly new."
"It's safe to say that it was probably a gang-related disturbance, although it is early in the investigation," he said. Investigators still have to interview all the housing unit's inmates as well as the victim and the suspects.
As of toast night, there were five known suspects, although Robinson said there could be more.
"They were pretty much just hanging around each other, and it was a concerted, orchestrated attack," Robinson said.
Bay City News Service