News Releases

CDCR Investigating Deadly Force Incident at High Desert State Prison

SUSANVILLE – A 23-year-old High Desert State Prison (HDSP) inmate was fatally shot by correctional officers during the attempted murder of another inmate today, November 9, 2012. The inmate was shot after he failed to respond when correctional officers ordered him and an accomplice to halt their attack.

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) sent a Deadly Force Investigations Team (DFIT) to the Susanville prison to investigate the use of deadly force.

The incident began at 11:05 a.m. today when two inmates attacked a third inmate on a maximum-security yard. The inmate victim was knocked to the ground and the two attacking inmates kicked him in his head and stabbed him several times with an inmate-made weapon. The victim lost consciousness. The attacking inmates ignored repeated orders to stop their attack. A correctional officer discharged one round from his state-issued Mini-14 rifle. The round hit one of the attacking inmates. He was pronounced dead at 11:17 a.m.

The fatally wounded inmate was serving an 82-year-to-life sentence from San Diego County for first-degree murder. His name is being withheld pending notification of his next of kin.

The inmate victim of the attack, age 29, suffered numerous stab and slash wounds, lacerations and injuries to his head. He was treated at the prison and is being monitored by medical staff. He is serving a 29-year, four-month sentence from Los Angeles County for assault likely to cause great bodily injury with gang enhancements.

The other inmate attacker, age 29, was not injured. He is serving a life without parole sentence from Riverside County for first-degree murder.

The names of the involved inmates are being withheld pending investigation.

Officers recovered one stabbing weapon. No employees were injured.

HDSP is on modified program, meaning inmate access to normal programs is limited to facilitate the investigation into the incident.

Pursuant to state law, deadly force can only be used when it is reasonably necessary to defend someone from an immediate threat of death or great bodily injury.

DFIT is a team of trained CDCR investigators that conducts criminal and administrative investigations into every use of deadly force.  The Office of the Inspector General’s Bureau of Independent Review (BIR) was also notified. The BIR is responsible for real-time oversight of CDCR’s investigations of its employees. The Lassen County District Attorney’s Office is also investigating.

High Desert State Prison in Lassen County opened in 1995 and houses approximately 900 minimum- and medium-custody inmates and 2,700 maximum-security inmates. The institution employs more than 1,300 people.


NOVEMBER 9, 2012
530) 251-5100, EXT. 5501