Stabbing, gun tip prompt city jail lockdown 100 weapons are found in detention center search

January 20, 1996|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,SUN STAFF

The Thursday night stabbing of a corrections officer at the Baltimore City Detention Center and a tip that a gun had been smuggled into the Madison Street jail triggered a lockdown yesterday that is expected to last through the weekend.

Police found more than 100 homemade weapons yesterday after searching the cells of half the 2,800 inmates, and state prison officials said that number could triple when the search is finished.

The guard was not injured seriously.

LaMont W. Flanagan, commissioner of the state Division of Pretrial Detention and Services, said the lockdown and search show that "we are dealing with violent offenders who only transfer the violence from the streets to inside these walls."

The lockdown means that all visits with inmates are barred, recreation privileges are suspended and prisoners are kept in their cells, even for meals.

Corrections officers and state police with dogs spent the day at the detention center searching for weapons and the gun, which had not been found as of yesterday afternoon. "A gun is the most serious weapons violation," Mr. Flanagan said at a news conference during which he displayed the weapons.

Officials identified the injured corrections officer as James Perry, who runs the protective custody section for juveniles, where inmates who fear other prisoners are held. Mr. Flanagan said two youths, ages 16 and 17, jumped Officer Perry on Thursday night and stabbed him twice in the back of the neck with a metal shank.

Officer Perry was treated at Johns Hopkins Hospital and sent home yesterday. The youths, who were awaiting trial on violent felony charges, were being questioned and could be charged with assault with intent to murder.

After the stabbing, city police told Mr. Flanagan's office that an informant told them that a gun had been smuggled into the jail. Yesterday morning, officers searching a man who had just been brought to the jail found nine .22 caliber bullets in his pocket.

The three incidents may be unrelated, but Mr. Flanagan said they prompted yesterday's search, which turned up a variety of weapons, including water pipes and pieces of sharpened metal.

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