A correctional officer at Kern Valley State Prison has died unexpectedly — nearly five months after being attacked by a group of inmates at the facility, officials said Monday.
Armando Gallegos, 56, was injured in the attack on April 21 and he died suddenly at a Hanford hospital on Friday, according to prison officials. It’s unclear if his death is at all linked to the attack. He worked at the prison for 13 years.
“Correctional officers like Armando put their lives on the line every day to keep our prisons and communities safe. We extend our deepest condolences to his wife Irma, his family and friends, as well as our CDCR community, during this difficult time,” California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Secretary Ralph Diaz said in a news release.
The department previously recommended homicide charges for seven of the inmates involved in the attack.
Around 3:40 p.m. on April 21, about 12 inmates started to punch and kick two correctional officers at the prison, officials said in a news release issued two days after the incident. When staff at the prison ordered all inmates to get down, those involved in the attack continued to hit the officers while other inmates at the prison complied with orders, according to officials.
Officers at the scene tried using “physical force” to stop the attack, officials said, and they used pepper spray to bring it to end and separate the inmates from the officers.
One of the officers was injured on his knees, hand and face while the other officer got bruising and swelling to his head and face, in addition to a broken vertebrae in his back, a broken nose, a concussion and injuries to his hands and knees, officials said. It’s unclear which of the officers is Gallegos.
Meanwhile, six inmates were treated for bruises and small cuts.
Information about the possibility of homicide charges being filed against seven of the inmates is being withheld pending results from an autopsy on Gallegos.