State prison guards kill inmate, wound another as they try to break up fight

Guards at a state prison in Northern California killed one inmate and critically wounded another as they tried to break up a fight in the recreation yard of the facility, authorities said Saturday.

The incident occurred Friday afternoon at California State Prison-Sacramento as the guards tried to stop two inmates from attacking another in the yard, said Krissi Khokhobashvili, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. The prison is located in Folsom.

The guards initially used less-than-lethal force — including 40-millimeter impact rounds, which are similar to rubber bullets — in trying to break up the fight, she said. The rounds are not intended to penetrate the skin.

They resorted to pepper-spray grenades, then fired a warning shot, Khokhobashvili said.

When a fourth inmate joined in the fight, the guards fired two rounds from a Ruger Mini-14 semiautomatic rifle, hitting two inmates, she said.

Inmate Jamie Mardis, 38, was killed, and a second, unidentified inmate was wounded and transferred to a hospital, where he was listed in critical condition. Two other inmates received minor injuries and were treated at the prison.

“When a life is at stake, basically, our officers are trained to protect the safety and staff of the institution,” Khokhobashvili said. “We do use-of-force training on a regular basis.”

Mardis entered the state prison system in July 2012 and was serving an 11-year sentence for second-degree robbery. He received an additional two-year sentence in June 2016 for possession and manufacture of a deadly weapon by a prisoner.

adam.elmahrek@latimes.com

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UPDATES:

7:20: p.m.: This article was updated with more information from state prison officials.

6:25 p.m.: This article was updated throughout with staff reporting.

This article was originally published at 4:50 p.m.

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