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San Quentin guards fire warning shots to break up inmate riot

February 9, 2012 |  7:40 pm

San Quentin state prisonGuards at San Quentin State Prison fired rifle shots and used pepper spray to break up an inmate riot that erupted Thursday in an exercise yard, authorities said.

Between 150 and 200 inmates, some of them armed with improvised weapons, began fighting about 11:30 a.m. Four of the prisoners were taken to outside hospitals for serious injuries that were not life-threatening, said Sgt. Gabe Walters. Others were treated at the prison.

He said prison guards fired about three lethal rifle rounds as a warning but that they were not aimed at the inmates. Guards also fired rubber projectiles to help quash the rioting.

"Our staff was able to quell the incident," Walters told The Times.

No guards were reported injured. San Quentin, in Marin County, houses California's death row. It was unclear what sparked the riot, which was under investigation.


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— Robert J. Lopez


Photo: San Quentin. Credit: Lacy Atkins/Associated Press