Mass altercation between inmates, deputies at Pitchess Detention Center results in multiple ‘minor’ injuries

Off-duty sheriff's deputies gather in the parking lot at Pitchess Detention Center following a "large fight" on Thursday, July 15, 2021. Dan Watson/The Signal
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By Caleb Lunetta & Emily Alvarenga 

Signal Staff Writers 

A “large fight” involving both inmates and Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies at Pitchess Detention Center prompted heavy response from law enforcement and paramedics Thursday after initial reports indicated more than 30 injuries.

The call was first received by the L.A. County Fire Department at 3:11 p.m. at the jail’s North County Correctional Facility, with multiple ambulances immediately dispatched to the scene for what was described as a “large fight,” according to fire spokesman Marvin Lim.

The incident reportedly began when deputies were doing a routine dorm security check, and a deputy was rushed by an inmate, according to Deputy Shawn Dubusky of the Sheriff’s Information Bureau.

An ambulance leaves Pitchess Detention Center following a “large fight” on Thursday, July 15, 2021. Dan Watson/The Signal

An altercation ensued, with a number of inmates joining the fight before additional deputies and an emergency response team arrived to deescalate the situation, using pepper spray, which exposed 20-25 inmates, and control holds to stop the incident from escalating further, Dubusky said.

“We were able to very quickly isolate that incident … (and) restore order back to the facility,” Capt. Gary Miller of the Sheriff’s Department said during a press briefing Thursday evening.

Lim said there could be 30 or more injuries and multiple ambulances had been dispatched, but upon arrival, the number of injuries was downgraded as first responders began to treat patients on the scene, Dubusky later added.

“Most of the injuries were minor bruises and scrapes,” Dubusky said, adding that six deputies and one custody assistant were taken by sheriff’s personnel to a local health care center for evaluation for those minor injuries, which is procedure after an incident of this sort.

A total of two inmates were transported to a local hospital with unknown, but non-life-threatening injuries, according to Miller.

All injuries were reportedly minor, and no deaths were reported as a result of the incident, Dubusky said.

The facilities remained on lockdown Thursday evening as deputies conducted the beginning of a criminal investigation into the incident, Miller added.

Los Angeles County Fire Department personnel stage in the parking lot at Pitchess Detention Center following a “large fight” on Thursday, July 15, 2021. Dan Watson/The Signal

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