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.
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.