Killing of 'San Quentin 6' Member Sparks Prison Riot

Hugo Pinell 'was definitely the target,' says a corrections spokeswoman
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 12, 2015 9:30 PM CDT
Killing of 'San Quentin 6' Member Sparks Prison Riot
In this Aug. 31, 2007 file photo, a guard tower stands behind the wire fence that surrounds California State Prison, Sacramento, in Folsom, Calif.   (Rich Pedroncelli)

An inmate involved in a bloody 1971 San Quentin escape attempt that left six dead has been killed by a fellow prisoner, corrections officials say. The slaying of Hugo Pinell, 71, triggered a riot today that grew to involve about 70 inmates at a maximum security prison east of Sacramento, says California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation spokeswoman Dana Simas. "He was definitely the target," Simas says of Pinell. She would not give more information about the alleged attacker for his own protection. Once Pinell was attacked in an exercise yard in California State Prison, Sacramento by his fellow inmate, "everyone else joined in," Simas says, including members of multiple prison gangs.

Eleven other inmates were taken to an outside hospital to be treated for stab wounds, while other injured inmates were treated at the prison; no employees were harmed. Guards fired three shots and used pepper spray to break up the brawl. Officials initially said about 100 inmates were involved and five hospitalized. Forty-four years ago, Pinell helped slit the throats of San Quentin prison guards during an escape attempt that led to the deaths of three guards, two inmate trustees, and escape ringleader George Jackson, who was fatally shot as he ran toward an outside prison wall. Pinell and five other inmates became known as the San Quentin Six. Only one remains in prison—the others were freed years ago. Click to see more on the San Quentin Six. (More prison riot stories.)

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