WALLA WALLA, Wash.-- Internal and external investigations are underway at the Washington State Penitentiary after a tower officer shot and struck an individual in the recreation yard.
The incident happened Tuesday, just before 8:00 pm.
The Department of Corrections tells Action News three incarcerated individuals were engaged in a physical altercation at the Washington State Penitentiary recreation yard.
The tower officer sounded the alarm, gave warnings through the speaker, and then resorted to firing one warning shot aimed in an unoccupied area. The individuals did not stop the altercation. Due to the failure to stop, the tower officer fired a shot at the two individuals assaulting the third individual, and struck one of the individuals.
The individual was transported to an offsite medical facility for treatment to his non-life threatening wound. He is conscious, in stable condition, and has returned to the penitentiary. There were no staff injuries reported as a result of this incident. The incarcerated individual that was the target of the assault was admitted to the Washington State Penitentiary’s onsite Health Services Building for treatment of his injuries.
The Department of Corrections says it is taking the incident very seriously. Following policy, anytime a weapon is discharged both an internal and an external investigation is started. The internal investigation includes a critical incident review and a firearms review panel. The external investigation is completed by local law enforcement. Per policy, the officer who fired the shot is placed on administrative leave, pending investigation.
The last shooting of an incarcerated individual in the state correctional system was in June 2012 at Clallam Bay Corrections Center during a hostage taking situation of a Correctional Industries staff member. That shooting of an incarcerated individual was a fatality.
The Washington State Penitentiary is located near Walla Walla, Wash. and houses approximately 2,500 male inmates.