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US Federal Prisons on Lockdown After 2 Texas Inmates Killed

Picture courtesy: The Associated Press

The federal prison system has been placed on a nationwide lockdown after two inmates were killed and two others were injured Monday during a gang altercation at a federal penitentiary in Texas.

The bureau said it was responding with "an abundance of caution", adding that the lockdown was a temporary measure.

The incident happened around 11:30 a.m. Monday at USP Beaumont, a federal prison in Beaumont, Texas, which has a prison population of 1,372, reportedly involved members of the MS-13 street gang - a brutal group established in Los Angeles which has roots in El Salvador.

The two inmates who died were named as Guillermo Riojas, a 54-year-old who had been sentenced for violent crimes using a firearm, and Andrew Pineda, 34, who was said to be a member of a gang known as the Mexican Mafia.

The lockdown, being instituted at the agency's more than 120 federal prisons across the U.S., was prompted by fears of potential retaliation and concern violence could spread to other facilities. During a nationwide lockdown, inmates are kept in their cells most of the day and visiting is cancelled. Because of a spike in coronavirus cases in federal prisons, social visits at nearly every facility have been cancelled already.

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