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Soledad prison yard fight, riot results in dozens injured

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Adam Beck, 35, walked away from Salinas Valley State Prison near Soledad, Calif. Saturday, September 14, 2019. He was captured without incident two days later at an apartment in San Francisco and transported back to prison custody.

Dozens of inmates were injured in a prison riot in Soledad late Wednesday morning and guards fired nine rounds from a rifle as warning shots to break it up, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

Just after 11 a.m. a group of roughly 200 inmates started fighting on the yard at the Correctional Training Facility, more commonly known as Salinas Valley State Prison, in Soledad.

Eight inmates suffered puncture wounds, lacerations or other significant injuries and were transported to a hospital for outside medical attention. Guards estimate that 50 more suffered minor injuries and were treated at the prison.

Four “inmate-manufactured weapons” were recovered after guards broke up the fight, a process that seems to have taken considerable time and effort.

After guards used chemicals, non-lethal weapons and warning shots from a Ruger Mini-14, a magazine-fed semi-automatic rifle similar in function to an AR-15 that typically fires the same .223-caliber bullets, one group of combatants began to lay face-down on the ground.

A second group backed away from the inmates on the ground, but continued to ignore orders from guards, according to prison staff. Additional guards showed up, however, and that second group of inmates eventually “took prone positions” on the ground. No guards were injured.

The cause of the riot is under investigation, and they’ve limited access to the crime scene while they gather evidence.

The prison, which opened in 1946, spans 680 acres just outside of town. It houses more than 5,000 inmates and employs more than 1,350 people from the surrounding area.

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