Disturbance at Ontario’s state prison prompts warning shots, lockdown for 700

ONTARIO – A fight between two inmates at Snake River Correctional Institution on Saturday, May 25, turned into a disruption involving nearly 70 inmates that required warning shots to end, according to the state Corrections Department.

The incident at Oregon’s largest prison happened when 237 inmates were out on the recreation yard of a unit of the prison called Complex 2, according to a statement on Sunday from Amber Campbell, agency communications manager.

“After the two adults in custody were escorted out of that area, a disturbance began involving approximately 67 other adults in custody,” the statement said. Corrections officers commanded the inmates to stop and “a single warning shot from the observation tower was fired into the warning shot pit.”

Some inmates continued their “aggressive behavior,” prompting a second warning shot that ended the incident.

Inmates were ordered prone on the ground and then were escorted out.

“No recreation equipment or weapons were used in the incident,” Campbell said.

No serious injuries were reported among the inmates, Campbell said.

Inmates involved in the incident have been confined to an Administrative Hold complex, the statement said.

The agency didn’t identify the two original combatants.

Complex 2 was put in lockdown, confining 720 inmates to their cells. Visiting scheduled for Sunday was canceled.

The prison, north of Ontario, opened in 1991. The latest Corrections Department census showed 2,690 inmates in the medium security prison and another 170 in an adjacent minimum security complex.

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Les Zaitz is editor of Salem Reporter and also serves as editor and publisher of the Malheur Enterprise in Vale, Oregon.