Man dead after jail brawl, Sheriff Arpaio speaks out

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

PHOENIX -- A man in jail on a probation violation ended up dead after a brawl broke out in one of Maricopa County's jails.

The victim died Tuesday after a brawl at the towers jail in southwest Phoenix over the weekend.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio said the man who died wasn't even involved in the fight that started the brawl, and the sheriff said he'll do everything he can to prosecute those responsible for his death.

Arpaio said that brawl happened Sunday night around 9:15. "We controlled the situation, and then we went into lock-down and took care of the suspects," he said.

The Sheriff's Office said those involved were incarcerated in the general population housing unit in towers jail.

"We're still investigating it. We don't have the complete details right now," said Arpaio.

Investigators said the fight involved 20 to 30 inmates inside that housing unit, and stemmed from a commissary issue. It then turned into a racially divided brawl.

Most seriously injured was 51-year-old Sergio Antonio Aguilar, who lost consciousness after being punched in the face by one or more other inmates.

He died Tuesday morning.

Investigators believe one of those inmates who attacked Aguilar was 18-year-old Tavaughn Scott.

“This is an unusual situation, but when you are in a jail environment it is difficult to control everything that happens," said Sheriff Arpaio.

Tuesday was a much different scene at the towers jail, not too far from where the brawl happened, as the sheriff celebrated Veterans Day with his inmates.

“You guys are veterans; that's why you’re getting a hot dog," he told them.

The inmates haven't had meat in months, but Tuesday they got hot dogs and cake.

"To all of our vets,” said one inmate. “Thank God."

Sheriff Joe announced the winner of the best-written essay contest. The winning essay was written by an inmate describing what it means to defend freedom.

"This is great," Arpaio said after reading it.

He also vowed to get to the bottom of Sunday night's brawl.

"I’m not happy with this,” he said. “I’m not happy when a 51-year-old did nothing wrong and they whacked them and killed them.”

The sheriff's office said there were 45 inmates in the pod during the fight, 20 to 30 inmates were involved. Five of them were injured, including Aguilar, who died Tuesday morning.