Los Angeles County sheriff's officials are investigating a riot that occurred this week involving hundreds of immigration detainees at a county-run facility in Lancaster, where guards used tear gas grenades to restore order, authorities said Wednesday.
The disturbance at the Mira Loma Detention Center began Tuesday morning when a fight broke out between two detainees from rival gangs, then escalated by 1:30 p.m. into a melee in the center's outdoor yard, sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore said. Extra deputies were dispatched from nearby Lancaster and Palmdale stations to assist the guards in separating detainees, and the riot was quelled "within minutes," he said.
Two detainees suffered serious, though not life-threatening, head injuries during the riot and were taken to a hospital, Whitmore said. About 20 other detainees suffered minor injuries. No deputies were injured, Whitmore said.
The Sheriff's Department contracts with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to house about 900 detainees awaiting deportation at the detention center, Whitmore said. Immigration officials plan to send a review team to Mira Loma this week to conduct an in-depth inquiry.
-- Molly Hennessy-Fiske and Anna Gorman