7-on-1 brawl at Donovan State Prison sends 3 to hospital

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SAN DIEGO — Seven inmates ganged up another man at Donovan State Prison Thursday morning in a brawl that sent three people to the hospital, prison officials say.

The fight broke out around 11 a.m. when seven people surrounded another inmate and started hitting him in the head with a cane, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said. The victim tried to run away, but the mob followed close behind. The inmate then started fighting back with an improvised weapon, according to CDCR.

An alarm called prison staff to the area, and they used pepper spray to break up the brawl. All inmates got on the ground and followed the staff’s instructions, officials said.

Cal Fire ambulances were called to the prison to take three inmates with serious injuries to the hospital. Their wounds included cuts to the head and stab wounds to the chest and stomach, CDCR said. No staff members were injured.

Three weapons, a cane and “two inmate-manufactured weapons,” were confiscated by officers. The Investigative Services Unit at the prison is now investigating what led to the fight, and inmates in the facility are under tighter restrictions.

A riot at the prison in February involved as many as 50 inmates and left 10 people hurt. That brawl broke out at a “medium-custody” yard at the facility, officials 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.

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