Authorities squash western New Mexico prison riot

Friday, March 27, 2020 12:11 PM

GRANTS, N.M. – Authorities say they have put down a prison riot in western New Mexico after a reported suicide of an inmate.

The Gallup Independent reports inmates at Northwestern New Mexico Correctional Center in Grants rioted March 20 after they were placed on lockdown after the early morning death of an unidentified inmate.

Investigators say about 300 inmates became unruly and damaged the facility.

Cibola County Sheriff Tony Mace says the inmates didn’t want to be cooped up together because of the new coronavirus scare.

Mace says inmates wrapped towels around their heads as makeshift gas masks, and some of those in the yard threw rocks over the fence at law enforcement.

The Department of Corrections used less-than-lethal bean bag rounds and paintball guns containing irritants to regain control.

No injuries were reported.