SAN DIEGO — More than 10 people were injured at Donovan State Prison in Otay Mesa Friday during a roughly 50-inmate riot, officials confirmed.
The massive brawl broke out around 9 a.m. at a “medium-custody” yard at the facility.
Officials said the riot started when multiple, separate fights broke out at once. Officers rushed in and ordered the inmates to stop fighting, eventually using pepper spray as some inmates refused orders and continued brawling, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said.
Ten inmates were rushed to hospitals for treatment, including one person with serious head injuries who was taken by helicopter. Three people were designated “major trauma” patients, the others had less severe injuries, a Cal Fire official said. As a stream of ambulances left the prison, each one was trailed by a white van with a CDCR seal.
Officials said correctional officers only used “non-lethal force” when trying to break up the brawl. No officers were seriously injured, but some were exposed to pepper spray and received medical treatment at the facility.
Officers found multiple “inmate-manufactured” weapons in the wake of the fight.
After the riot, SkyFOX showed inmates sitting in a field with hands behind their backs as a line of officers looked on. A short distance away, some inmates were being interviewed and frisked against a building wall, while others received medical attention and were loaded into ambulances.
The Investigative Services Unit at Donovan is now looking into what started the riot. Inmates in the prison’s Facility A were not being allowed to move around as usual during the investigation, CDCR 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.
In the afternoon, prison officials provided some additional details: