7 jail staff, 2 inmates hospitalized in altercation at Pitchess Detention Center

Aerial view of the Pitchess Detention Center shows emergency vehicles outside
Multiple injuries were reported after an altercation erupted at the Pitchess Detention Center in Castaic.

An altercation at a Pitchess Detention Center dormitory Thursday afternoon sent seven jail staff and two inmates to the hospital, officials said.

The incident at the Castaic facility began when deputies were conducting security checks inside one of the dorms about 3:05 p.m., according to a statement from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

Officials said an inmate assaulted one of the deputies. More inmates became involved and other deputies responded to the scene.


The department said deputies used verbal commands to desist before pepper-spraying 20 to 25 inmates. Seven deputies and one custody assistant were injured. Six deputies, the custody assistant and two inmates were taken to a hospital for non-life-threatening injuries.

The facility is on lockdown.

The L.A. County Fire Department received a call at 3:11 p.m. about multiple injuries at the jail in Castaic, according to spokesperson Sean Ferguson. It sent seven ambulances to the scene.

The jail has a history of bouts of violence that have involved hundreds of inmates.

Racially charged clashes at the detention center in February 2006 left one prisoner dead and dozens of others injured. The core of one fight involved about 200 inmates but quickly became a “massive chaos,” then-Sheriff Lee Baca said at the time. More than 200 deputies were needed to quell the violence.

In 2000, more than 80 inmates, most of them Black, were injured and one man was beaten into a coma during several days of violence at the Pitchess jail. Baca responded by segregating Black and Latino inmates for several weeks.