Kern County prison guard kills inmate while breaking up an attack

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) said a correctional officer at Kern Valley State Prison fatally shot an inmate who was attacking another inmate.

CDCR investigators say around 10:15 a.m. on Wednesday, two inmates attacked another inmate who fell to the ground and last consciousness. The two inmates continued to beat the man who was unable to defend himself.

Investigators say a correctional officer fired a warning shot in an attempt to stop the attack, but the inmates continued to attack the victim. The officer then fired at one of the attackers. That inmate was airlifted to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The victim of the attack was also taken to a nearby hospital to be treated for head trauma.

"The use of deadly force is always a last resort," said CDCR spokesperson Dana Simas. "The loss of any life is unfortunate and, as is the case for all in-custody deaths, this death will be thoroughly investigated."

CDCR says according to state law, deadly force can only be used when it is reasonably necessary to defend someone from an immediate threat of death or great bodily injury.

The CDCR said they have sent a Deadly Force Investigations Team to the prison, and a deadly force review board will also be looking into the incident.
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