Inmate allegedly assaults Lewis prison employee, sparks lockdownPosted: Updated:
BUCKEYE, Ariz. -- The Arizona State Prison Complex-Lewis in Buckeye was on lockdown Friday morning after an inmate reportedly assaulted an employee.
The Phoenix Fire Department, which handles dispatch for the Buckeye Fire Department, confirmed that emergency crews were called out to the prison for a "violent incident."
The incident initially was reported as a possible shooting, but according to Arizona Department of Corrections spokesman Bill Lamoreaux, it started when an inmate attacked an ADOC employee in the Morey Unit at 9:30 a.m.
"The inmate struck the employee several times in the head and body," Lamoreaux told 3TV via email. "Staff in the tower deployed two non-lethal rounds before the inmate was restrained and secured by responding staff."
Aaerial video from NewsChopper 3 showed two lines of orange-clad prisoners lying facedown on the ground, their hands bound behind their backs.
Video from the Fort McDowell Casino News Chopper showed several people gathered around two gurneys.
The inmate has been identified as Antonio Salley, 36. He is serving a life sentence for first-degree murder and armed robbery.
Lamoreaux has not identified the employee, saying only that the employee was transported to an outside medical facility for evaluation. Salley was transported to a local hospital for evaluation.
It's not clear what led up to the assault.
A criminal investigation is underway.
ASPC Lewis is about an hour southwest of Phoenix.
"The Arizona State Prison Complex–Lewis is one of the largest single correctional facility construction endeavors in the United States," according to the Arizona Department of Corrections website. "The behemoth of prison, costing $157 million, includes two 800-bed level 3 male units, two 800-bed level 4 male units, one 600-bed female unit, and one 350-bed maximum security minors unit, with a total inmate population of 4,150, making ASPC-Lewis larger than over 30,000 towns across the United States."
The Morey Unit, one of seven units at ASPC Lewis, houses inmates classified as level four or level five. Those inmates "represent the highest risk to the public and staff," according to the ADOC.
In 2004, the Morey Unit was the site of a 15-day standoff, the longest standoff between inmates and law enforcement in U.S. history. On Jan. 18, inmates Ricky Wassenaar and Steven Coy took two corrections officers -- one man and one woman -- hostage in a failed escape attempt. The situation came to a peaceful end on Feb. 1. The prison was on lockdown the entire time.