DASO: 21 inmates involved in chaos at jail

Reports of broken windows, mattresses and trash cans set on fire

LAS CRUCES, N.M. - Doña Ana County Detention officers and a Special Response Team came together to put a stop to a chaotic affray that broke out at the Doña Ana County Detention Center Sunday night, reportedly over clipping shears used to cut inmates' hair.

The incident happened around 5:30 p.m. in two pods inside a maximum hold area inside the jail. Detention administration officers on duty said roughly a dozen inmates inside one pod were given until 5 p.m. to finish using hair clippers that had been issued earlier that morning. It is standard policy at the jail to make the electric clippers available to inmates between the hours of 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

At 5 p.m., inmates reportedly told detention officers they were not finished using the clippers. At that time, detention officers allowed them an extra 30 minutes to complete their haircuts.

After that time had passed, the inmates still refused to return the shears and became disruptive. For reasons still under investigation, inmates in the adjacent pod also became combative, breaking several windows in the pod using a broom handle and a piece of metal that was broken off of a desk inside the pod.

Another inmate also reportedly started a fire in a trash can, and also set a couple of mattresses on fire using a lighter he had in his possession, which is considered contraband inside the facility.

The Special Response Team, which had been training at the jail at the time of the incident, was able to respond to the situation within seconds. A sprinkler system inside the pod also engaged and extinguished the fire.

No injuries were reported.

Inmates inside the damaged pod have been transferred to another location inside the facility.

The incident is under investigation by the Doña Ana County Sheriff's Department to determine what charges will be filed against the inmates who were involved.

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