San Quentin Locked Down; Death Row Guard Attacked
POSTED: 3:03 pm PST January 25, 2006
UPDATED: 5:14 pm PST January 25, 2006
SAN QUENTIN -- A prison guard in the toughest section of San Quentin's Death Row was severely slashed Wednesday, forcing the lock down of the entire prison and the removal of inmates to cages in the exercise yard.
Prison spokesman Vernell Crittendon said Richard Penunuri, who has been condemned in 2001 to die for two murders and the ordered hit on a witness at his trial, was being returned to his cell in the at 10:45 a.m. Wednesday.
As part of the procedure, the inmate's handcuffs are removed with his hands through a slot in the cell. When the guard went to remove the handcuffs, Penunuri grabbed his arm.
Penunuri then pulled out a razor-type weapon, slashing the unnamed guard's arm. The guard was taken to a local hospital where he received 20 stitches to seal the wound.
The prison immediately went on lock down.
Inmates in the 'bad boy' section of Death Row's adjustment center were removed from their cells and taken to individual holding cages in the exercise yard by an emergency response team.
Crittendon said they were expected to remain out in the yard overnight and the prison was to be lit up all night long while guards search their cells for weapons.
The assault was a 'planned attack', prison officials said, in retaliation for actions taken over the weekend against members of the infamous Cole Street Gang.
Crittendon said members of the gang barricaded themselves in their Death Row cells and had to be forcefully removed.