Fight involving 200 at Ariz. prison leaves 14 hurt

September 21, 2012 - 4:36 PM

PHOENIX (AP) — A fight among about 200 black and Hispanic inmates at an Arizona prison complex left two or three corrections officers and 11 inmates injured, officials said Friday.

The brawl broke out at about 5:30 p.m. Thursday in a recreation yard at the Tucson prison's Santa Rita unit, Arizona Department of Corrections spokesman Bill Lamoreaux said. It was broken up by a prison tactical force using pepper spray and what Lamoreaux called "minimal force" within a half-hour.

It wasn't clear what started the fight or if racial tensions were part of the cause, although it involved those of different ethnic backgrounds.

One of the inmates was in critical condition Friday, University of Arizona Medical Center spokeswoman Darci Slaten said, and two others were in the intensive care unit in serious condition.

The hospital treated and released three prison guards, Slaten said. Lamoreaux said he knew of only two injured officers, plus 11 inmates.

The prison has 5,150 beds — nearly all of which occupied Thursday. The unit where the fight broke out housed 727 inmates.

The facility will be on lockdown for several days and no inmate visits will be allowed.

The fight came a day after a riot at a California prison holding many of the state's most hardened criminals left 13 inmates wounded, including one who was shot by correctional officers. That disturbance was inside a yard at the California State Prison, Sacramento in Folsom. The prison is commonly known as New Folsom because it is close to the better-known Folsom State Prison.