Big Los Angeles jail locked down in search for firearm
LOS ANGELES - Sheriff's deputies locked down the Men's Central Jail for about nine hours on Thursday to investigate a report that an inmate had a firearm, but nothing was found, authorities said.
A SWAT team ordered 5,861 inmates to stay in their cells around 1:30 p.m. after receiving information that a weapon was hidden inside the jail east of downtown. The lockdown was lifted around 9 p.m. after no weapon was found, said sheriff's Deputy Paul Schrader.
Schrader said he did not know who tipped off authorities.
A sheriff's spokesman said the tip forced authorities to conduct an exhaustive search.
"We have to look for each hiding place, each little ... hole that a firearm or zip gun or any sort of weapon may be put into," Deputy Richard Pena told KCBS-TV. "We have to do a complete and thorough search and make sure there's no such weapon."
The facility is part of the largest jail system in the nation, one that holds an average of 18,000 inmates a day. The system has been plagued by overcrowding and violence, including a series of deadly riots earlier this year. Sheriff Lee Baca has blamed a lack of funding for staffing shortage.
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