Warning shots fired in prison assault
Three warning shots were fired by correctional officers responding to a reported stabbing in a solitary confinement area at the Maximum Security Unit in Tucker last month, according to a prisons spokesman.
Two correctional officers were assaulted trying to handcuff an inmate, but neither they nor the stabbed prisoner needed outside medical attention, the spokesman said.
The Arkansas State Police is investigating the July 22 incident, but the Department of Correction says it was not informed of the shots fired until it was reported Monday by the Arkansas Times.
At least two inmates made it out of their single-man cages in the prison’s isolation recreational area, according to Department of Correction spokesman Solomon Graves.
From there they were able to breach the cage of a fellow inmate, who was stabbed.
Correctional officers responding to the incident were assaulted as they attempted to handcuff one of the out-ofbounds inmates.
That’s when the three warning shots were fired, Graves said.
The injuries suffered by the officers and the inmate include cuts, lacerations, abrasions and bruising, according to a statement Graves released Tuesday.
It’s unclear what kind of weapon was used in the stabbing, he said in a later phone interview.
Corrections officers were able to get the situation under control and return the prison to normal operations, Graves said. State police were called “immediately” afterward, he said.
The call to state police came in at 9:10 a.m. Saturday, July 22, according to agency spokesman Bill Sadler.
Special agents at the Department of Correction are preparing an investigative file to give to the Jefferson County prosecutor. It’s unclear if charges are expected.
Graves said the Department of Correction is conducting its own “parallel” investigation into the events, including what State Police were told and staff actions after the fight.
Asked about policy regarding shots being fired, Graves pointed to a prison rule stating that deadly force, including discharging a weapon, may be used to prevent serious injury or death, or an escape.
Graves said no officers have been placed on administrative leave, which is up to the discretion of the department director.
He declined to name the inmates involved, pending the outcome of the investigation.
The Maximum Security Unit is a 532-bed prison down the road from a separate facility, the Tucker Unit, in Jefferson County.