The Latest: Accidental opening of cell doors led to incident
TECUMSEH, Neb. (AP) — The Latest on a prison disturbance in Nebraska at a prison that was the site of two deadly riots in recent year (all times local):
Nebraska officials say inmates in a 16-cell, single-person unit at a prison with a history of riots attacked another inmate and set a fire after the doors on their cells were opened by mistake.
A written release from the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services says the doors at Tecumseh State Correctional Institute are operated by a computerized system and that the cell doors opened unexpectedly around 10 a.m. Friday. Officials say the cause of the error is under investigation.
Officials say the inmates were ordered to stay in their cells, but they left anyway, entered the gallery and refused to return. One inmate was assaulted by one or more of the others and was seriously injured. Another inmate also received minor injuries. No prison employees were injured.
Prison officials say staff used chemical agents to clear the gallery, but the inmates continued to resist and started a fire in one of the cells. The fire was contained to the one cell, and the prisoners were eventually returned to their cells.
Authorities have dispatched firefighters and an ambulance to deal with an incident at a southeast Nebraska prison that was the site of two deadly riots in recent years.
Authorities were called Friday to the Tecumseh State Correctional Institution. A Johnson County sheriff’s dispatcher said no other information was available.
A Department of Correctional Services staffer who answered a spokeswoman’s office phone says the incident is over and under control but declined to disclose more details.
Two of the prison’s inmates were killed and others were injured in a 2017 riot that included a prison courtyard fire. That riot happened in the same housing unit where two other inmates were killed during a May 2015 uprising that caused about $2 million in damage.