Inmate at the Merced County Jail seriously injured after being stabbed by another prisoner

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An inmate at the Merced County Jail was rushed to a Modesto Hospital after another inmate stabbed him multiple times on Tuesday. (KFSN)

An inmate at the Merced County Jail was rushed to a Modesto Hospital after another inmate stabbed him multiple times on Tuesday.

Sheriff Vern Warnke said David Lastra saw his target, Joseph Dominguez, across this recreation yard at the Merced County Sheriff's Office. He then attacked him with a seven inch metal shank.

"We counted at least 36 stab wounds-- it was pretty brutal, the fortunate part is that Dominguez will have a full recovery," said Warnke.

Deputies caught the assault on camera-- the deputy on the rooftop started firing pepper ball guns to get them to stop. After that didn't work deputies came in to separate them.

Warnke said Lastra stabbed the victim because he believes that Dominguez assaulted one of his family members about a year ago.

"There was a definite intent for this to happen, he wanted him dead."

Both inmates are incarcerated for separate murder charges and have an extensive list of other felonies and violent crime on their records.

"They're not in here for singing too loud at church, they're in here for committing very serious crimes against the citizens of this county," said Warnke.

Captain Greg Sullivan also said prison weapons are not uncommon either-- he said the inmates use anything they can find, including pieces of the building itself.

"We have to continuously check to make sure there are no items that can be used as weapons in inmate cells. These inmates are ingenious and have time on their hands, and fashion many different things from pencils to pieces of metal into weapons."

Warnke said the victim is recovering from a collapsed lung and several stab wounds. He has been moved to a different cell, and deputies say the two inmates will stay separated.

Warnke said he also plans to file attempted murder charges against Lastra.

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