117 inmates take over section of downtown St. Louis jail
The incident began after a “defiant” inmate got into a fight with a corrections officer and other prisoners jumped in, officials said.TAP TO UNMUTE
More than 100 inmates took over a section of the City Justice Center in downtown St. Louis, injuring a corrections officer at the facility, officials said.
The incident began around 2:30 a.m. Saturday in a fourth-floor unit when a “defiant” inmate “who was very, very upset” got into a fight with the corrections officer, Public Safety Director Jimmie Edwards said at a news conference.
The officer was then jumped by other inmates in the unit.
During the fight, several detainees were able to “jimmy” the locks on their cells, open them and get into the unit, according to Edwards.
As jail employees were trying to get the corrections officer to safety, the inmates accessed a lock panel system and “other detainees were released from their cells into the unit.”
Edwards said the unit was breached and inmates were able to get into a hallway. A second unit on the floor also “started to have defiant detainees,” he said.
“Those detainees were also very aggressive, very violent. They too were able to be released from their cells because those locks were also jimmied. And they were also able to breach their unit,” he told reporters.
The incident involved 117 inmates.
According to NBC affiliate KSDK, the inmates threw items out of broken windows and started small fires inside the jail.
Chairs and other items were scattered across the street and at least one car had a shattered windshield, the outlet reported. Several of the inmates were seen holding signs and chanting.
None of them were able to gain access to other floors, Edwards told reporters. By 10 a.m., the situation had been contained after sheriff’s deputies and police assisted.
Officials have not identified the injured corrections officer but said he was in the hospital and expected to recover.
This is the third disturbance at the facility, which Edwards said houses inmates with “very serious offenses.”
In late December and early January, the jail was disrupted by inmates expressing concerns over unsafe conditi