McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

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June 27, 2007

Inmates riot at county jail

Crime | Several inmates receive injuries during riot at overcrowded county jail

By DOUG RUSSELL

News Editor

It’s empty.

The cells of the Pittsburg County Jail were empty this morning as trustees, county employees and others worked to clean up and repair damage caused when inmates rioted Tuesday evening.

Several inmates required some medical treatment following the riot, Pittsburg County Undersheriff Richard Sexton said, but only one was hospitalized — and that was for a pre-existing medical condition.

“In my opinion it wasn’t directly related to what was going on at the jail,” Sexton said.

Several inmates suffered bruises and a few had lacerations suffered in the riot, Sexton said, adding no law enforcement officers were injured.

All of the inmates from the jail have been removed to an undisclosed location, where they are being guarded by sheriff’s deputies, McAlester police officers, Department of Corrections personnel and other county employees.

During the riot, which lasted until the last inmate was removed at about midnight, inmates damaged cells, set books and other papers on fire and attempted to escape before barricading themselves inside. Locks on several doors were broken or otherwise damaged, as were locks to two doors that led to the former exercise yard of the jail.

“They were able to defeat both of those doors,” Sexton said. “There was an inner door and an outer door and they were able to defeat both of them, but I’d backed a patrol unit up to the door and they couldn’t get the door open to get out.”

One cell door was damaged so badly that a rescue tool had to be used to open it.

Officers from the McAlester and Krebs police departments, as well as the sheriff’s department and the Oklahoma State Penitentiary Corrections Emergency Response Team, responded to the riot, Sexton said. In addition, McAlester firefighters and ambulances were on hand to assist, as was ParaMed Ambulance Service.

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