News Releases

CDCR Investigating Deadly Force Incident at Kern Valley State Prison

DELANO – Kern Valley State Prison (KVSP) administrators are investigating the death of an inmate who was fatally shot while he attacked another inmate.

At approximately 10:15 a.m., two inmates attacked another inmate who fell to the ground and lost consciousness. The assailants continued to attack the inmate who was unable to defend himself.

A California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) correctional officer discharged one warning shot from the Mini 14 rifle to stop the attack, but the assailants continued to assault the inmate. After the warning, the officer discharged another shot from the Mini 14 rifle.

One of the assailants suffered a gunshot wound and was airlifted from KVSP and taken to an area hospital where he was later pronounced deceased.

The victim of the attack is being transported to an outside hospital to be treated for head trauma. There are no reports of injuries to staff.

“The use of deadly force is always a last resort,” said CDCR spokesperson Dana Simas. “The loss of any life is unfortunate and, as is the case for all in-custody deaths, this death will be thoroughly investigated.”

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) sent a Deadly Force Investigations Team (DFIT) to KVSP to investigate the incident. DFIT is a team of trained CDCR investigators that conducts criminal and administrative investigations into every use of deadly force. A deadly force review board will conduct a full and complete review of the incident as well.

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.

The Office of the Inspector General was also notified and will provide real-time oversight of CDCR’s investigation of its staff.

KVSP opened in 2005 and houses 3,782 inmates of all security levels. KVSP offers academic classes and vocational programs and employs approximately 1,800 people.

For more information about KVSP, visit CDCR’s website at


April 22, 2015
Contact: Dana Simas
(916) 445-4950