, Salem, MA

Local News

June 8, 2007

Melee at Middleton Jail injures five guards


Slid under showers

The men were told to sit on a bench outside the shower stalls, where they were unshackled and told to undress.

They were then locked into individual shower stalls. Several of them began sliding underneath a 2- to 3-foot gap underneath the shower doors and were able to grab the shackles and swing them at the guards, Fleming said.

Two of the guards received head wounds, and one of them had to have the wound stapled closed, Satelmajer said. A third guard was cut on the jaw.

As the officers radioed for help — which began arriving within 30 seconds, Fleming said — the inmates began throwing things at the officers, including a telephone ripped from a console, a computer and a book cart. Two inmates got hold of brooms and a plunger and began swinging them at the officers, Fleming said.

It took about four minutes to get all of the inmates back under control, Fleming said. He said the response time and the time it took to subdue the seven inmates was worthy of praise.

In the aftermath, guards began a cell-by-cell search of the unit, looking for potential weapons or other evidence. During that process, one guard suffered a sprained wrist and another was bitten by a dog that was being used in the search, Fleming said.

Fleming declined to release the names of the injured guards, citing concern for their safety.

The unit, which is often referred to by inmates as “the hole,” houses high-profile inmates or those who require special protection or have major disciplinary problems.

Lopez was being held at the jail while he awaits trial next month in the 2003 murder of a man named Gilberto Martinez in Lawrence. He is also serving a 35-year federal prison term for drug offenses.

Maldonado is awaiting trial on charges of assaulting a guard and a fellow inmate last summer. In August 2006, he allegedly attacked another inmate with a hot pot, shattering the man’s eye socket, then kicked a guard who was responding to the situation. He has also served time for violent crimes in the past.

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