Prison unit se­cured af­ter guards held for three hours

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - RYAN TARINELLI AND JOHN MORITZ

Six in­mates at the state’s max­i­mum se­cu­rity prison in Tucker held three guards for about three hours Mon­day af­ter­noon af­ter they took con­trol of an area of the unit, a pris­ons spokesman said.

Depart­ment of Cor­rec­tion spokesman Solomon Graves said the staff mem­bers were re­leased from the area Mon­day evening. They suf­fered mi­nor in­juries, in­clud­ing bruises and scrapes, he said.

Six in­mates took keys from cor­rec­tional of­fi­cers dur­ing a “recre­ation call” at the Max­i­mum Se­cu­rity Unit in Tucker around 3:30 p.m. Mon­day, ac­cord­ing to an ini­tial state­ment from Graves.

Graves, in a later in­ter­view, said the six had over­pow­ered two of­fi­cers and got­ten their keys and that a third of­fi­cer was iso­lated in the area.

One in­mate, who was in­jured dur­ing the dis­tur­bance, was taken to an area hos­pi­tal, Graves said. The in­mate, who was in sta­ble con­di­tion, was not in­volved in the ini­tial dis­tur­bance, ac­cord­ing to Graves.

When asked why the in­mate was taken to an area hos­pi­tal, Graves said the in­juries to the in­mate were too much for the in­fir­mary at the prison to han­dle.

He said the in­mates in­volved in the in­ci­dent have been trans­ported to a se­cure off-site lo­ca­tion, but he de­clined to say where.

Graves said in a state­ment that, as of 6:30 p.m., all staff mem­bers had been re­leased and that the dis­tur­bance was re­solved as of 6:45 p.m. and the unit be­gan “the process of re­turn­ing to nor­mal op­er­a­tion.”

Graves did not re­spond when asked whether the prison was put on lock­down

dur­ing the in­ci­dent.

Reached by phone Mon­day evening, Bill Sadler, an Arkansas State Po­lice spokesman, said the agency will in­ves­ti­gate any crim­i­nal ac­tiv­ity that may have oc­curred in the leadup to the sit­u­a­tion or dur­ing the in­ci­dent.

The 532-bed Max­i­mum Se­cu­rity Unit in Tucker is down the road from the Tucker Unit, a sep­a­rate fa­cil­ity, also in Jef­fer­son County.

The lat­est sit­u­a­tion at the unit came two weeks af­ter three warn­ing shots were fired by cor­rec­tional of­fi­cers re­spond­ing to a re­ported stab­bing in a soli­tary con­fine­ment area at the unit, ac­cord­ing to Graves.

The July 22 in­ci­dent be­gan when at least two in­mates made it out of their sin­gle-man cages in the prison’s iso­la­tion re­cre­ational area and breached the cage of an­other in­mate, who was stabbed, Graves said.

When cor­rec­tional of­fi­cers re­sponded, they were as­saulted as they tried to hand­cuff one of the out-of-bounds in­mates. Then, three warn­ing shots were fired, ac­cord­ing to Graves.

State po­lice con­tinue to in­ves­ti­gate that in­ci­dent, Sadler said, and the case will even­tu­ally be turned over to the Jef­fer­son County pros­e­cut­ing at­tor­ney.

Arkansas Demo­crat-Gazette

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