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Officers, counselor at South Bay prison injured in assaults

OTAY MESA, Calif.  – Several prison officers and another employee at the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility were injured Monday by combative inmates, authorities reported.

The first in the series of assaults at the Otay Mesa-area penitentiary occurred about 8:15 a.m., when prisoner Ronnie Moody, 35, approached a correctional counselor in an office and asked to speak with him, according to RJDCF public affairs.

When the staffer responded that he could not confer with Moody at that time because an alarm was sounding, the inmate entered the room and allegedly began striking him in the head.

As the counselor was seeking to defend himself, a corrections officer fired a non-lethal projectile round at Moody. Other employees then arrived were then able to restrain the inmate, officials said.

The counselor was transported to an outside hospital for treatment of various trauma, including a broken nose and cuts and bruises to his face and hands.

A short time later, inmates Gary Deans, 50, and Donnel Jones, 54, allegedly jumped two correctional officers and struck them in the neck, head and groin areas as the guards were securing a recreation room. Despite their injuries, the officers were able to subdue the assailants.

Another prisoner, 53-year-old Billy Williams, then allegedly began inciting fellow inmates to assault staff members and was placed in restraints by an officer. While being escorted out of the building, Williams allegedly head-butted the guard, who was able to tackle Williams to the ground.

The three officers involved in the latter attacks suffered minor injuries and elected to remain on duty.

Moody was sentenced in San Francisco County in August 2015 to an 11- year, eight-month sentence for auto theft, attempted robbery, resisting arrest and trying to take a gun from an on-duty peace officer.

Deans received a 30-years-to-life custody term in April 1994 to a for first-degree murder with the use of a gun in Los Angeles County.

Jones is serving 37 years to life for carjacking and robbery by a third- striker. He was received by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation in August 1990.

Williams was sentenced in Los Angeles County in June 2001 to a 35-to- life term for voluntary manslaughter with use of a firearm by a third-striker.

All the involved inmates were rehoused in a segregation unit away from the general prison population pending completion of investigations into the assaults.