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Guard killed, 5 injured during Mississippi prison riot

1:55 AM, May 21, 2012   |    comments
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A prison riot that claimed the life of a guard continued into the late night hours Sunday at Adams County Correctional Facility in Natchez, Mississippi, with no clear word from authorities about what caused it.

The deceased 23-year-old guard died of injuries to the head, said Adams County Coroner James Lee.

The riot began about 2:40 p.m., the facility's operator said in a statement.

"The disturbance is contained within the secure perimeter of the facility, with no threat to public safety," the statement said.

Adams County Sheriff Chuck Mayfield said rumors of escaped convicts were unfounded.

"I just want people to understand, and know, that no one has gotten out and no one will," Mayfield said in a statement late Sunday. "We have got all our deputies out here and ready. The county can sleep well tonight because we've got it secured."

He added, "We are currently taking inmates into custody, but it's a lengthy process because there are so many of them. As it stands right now, there is still one area of the prison that we still have to take back from prisoners, but I don't foresee that taking long."

Local and state law enforcement officials as well as the Federal Bureau of Prisons were helping the facility try to quell the violence.

Five employees and one inmate were taken to a hospital for treatment of unspecified injuries, while other staff members were being treated at the prison.

Johar Lashin told CNN that he'd heard a lot of noise and commotion when he talked with his brother Jawad, an inmate serving time for aiding and abetting illegal immigrants, around 6 p.m. His brother said he was not participating in the riot, despite pressure from other inmates to do so.

The cause of the incident is under investigation.

Rusty Boyd, a spokesman for Mississippi Highway Patrol, said Sunday evening that 45 to 55 units from that state agency were helping corrections officers deal with the situation.

The Natchez facility is a 2,567-bed prison that houses adult men who are in the United States illegally and charged with crimes. It is owned by the Tennessee-based Corrections Corporation of America.

Warden Vance Laughlin described the facility as quiet and with "few problems" in a March 2010 article in The Natchez Democrat, a few months after it opened to incarcerate illegal immigrants detained for mostly low-security crimes.

At that point, it housed more than 2,000 inmates -- more than two-thirds of whom were of Mexican descent, although scores of nationalities were then represented.


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