Around 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 27, 2005, fights broke out among two dozen of the over 500 prisoners on the prison's recreation yard. Guards quelled the fights and returned the prisoners to their housing units.
At approximately 9:30 p.m., prisoners from one building began to battle those from another building. The fights spilled out onto the recreation yard and involved around 200 prisoners, some of whom had armed themselves with broom handles, sticks and boards. About 10:15 p.m., the Parker County Sheriff's Department, Palo Pinto County Sheriff's Department, Mineral Wells Police Department, Texas Department of Public Safety and Texas Rangers were notified of the riot and sent officers to secure the prison's perimeter. DPS also sent a searchlight-equipped helicopter.
A special operations team was deployed to quell the riot. They used tear gas, which quickly brought an end to the fighting. Two guards received scratches. Twelve prisoners were injured, including Michael Cantu, 27, who was transported by helicopter ambulance to a hospital and Matias Gonzales, 63, who was also hospitalized. Several other prisoners were evacuated to the hospital via ground ambulance, but only Cantu and Gonzales remained at the hospital overnight. The injured guards were treated at the prison.
It was pretty western out there for a while," according to Parker County Sheriff Larry Fowler. You could follow it from the noise. It would be in one spot, then in another spot. When they deployed the gas it tapered off to nothing and they got control of it and shut it down.
It appears to have been race- or gang-related," said Fowler. They generally trashed the place."
Sources: Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Associated Press, WFAA-TV, Dallas Morning News.
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