At least 10 people were injured at Donovan State Prison in Otay Mesa Friday during a riot involving about 50 inmates, officials confirmed to KTLA sister station KSWB in San Diego.
The massive brawl broke out around 9 a.m. at a “medium-custody” yard at the facility.
“The riot occurred when multiple fights and attacks broke out in several areas simultaneously,” the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said. “Officers immediately responded to the various areas and gave multiple orders to stop fighting. When inmates did not comply, officers used pepper spray.”
Ten inmates were rushed to hospitals for treatment, including one person with serious head injuries who was taken by helicopter. A stream of ambulances could be seen leaving the prison, each one trailed by white vans bearing a CDCR seal.
Officials said correctional officers only used “non-lethal force” when trying to break up the brawl. No officers were seriously injured, but some were exposed to pepper spray and received medical treatment at the facility.
Officers found multiple “inmate-manufactured” weapons in the wake of the fight.
After the riot, aerial video from KSWB showed inmates sitting in a field with hands behind their backs as a line of officers looked on. A short distance away, some inmates were being interviewed and frisked against a building wall, while others received medical attention and were loaded into ambulances.
The Investigative Services Unit at Donovan is now looking into what started the riot. Inmates in the prison’s Facility A were not being allowed to move around as usual during the investigation, CDCR said.
Donovan is a 780-acre facility and the only state prison in San Diego County, located in the foothills of Otay Mesa. According to CDCR, there are about 4,000 inmates at the prison, including minimum-, medium- and maximum-security offenders.