Atwater prisoner shot in attack on another on the mend

mnorth@mercedsunstar.comMarch 29, 2013 

— An inmate shot by a correctional officer earlier this week at U.S. Penitentiary Atwater is expected to survive.

The penitentiary released initial details Thursday about the incident that happened earlier in the week, but no one at the prison was available for comment.

Even after further inquiry by the Sun-Star, prison officials limited the release of information about the incident.

The inmate who was shot was hit in the lower torso, according to an email from Kristi Rodriguez, a public information officer at the penitentiary. The injuries he suffered aren't considered life-threatening.

The incident happened after two inmates assaulted another inmate in the prison's recreation yard about 12:45 p.m. Tuesday, according to the prison.

The inmates didn't comply with staff orders to stop even after a warning shot was fired, according to prison officials.

One of the inmates then was shot by staff and taken to a local hospital for treatment. Another inmate was assessed for his injuries and treated at the prison.

No staff members were injured, according to the prison.

Since the inmates involved could face criminal prosecution as well as internal disciplinary action, the prison didn't want go into additional detail about the incident.

Citing security concerns, officials also didn't want to explain the circumstances of the shooting.

"Bureau of Prisons policy allows for the use of firearms when deemed necessary to prevent loss of life or serious physical injury to staff or inmates," according to Rodriguez's email to the Sun-Star.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation was notified of the incident, and the investigation is ongoing, according to Rodriguez. All staff members who responded to the incident are still on duty.

Reporter Mike North can be reached at (209) 385-2453 or mnorth@mercedsunstar.com.

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