SACRAMENTO, California – An inmate involved in a bloody 1971 San Quentin escape attempt that left six dead has been killed by a fellow prisoner, corrections officials said Wednesday.
The slaying of Hugo Pinell, 71, triggered a riot Wednesday that grew to involve about 70 inmates at a maximum security prison east of Sacramento, said California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation spokeswoman Dana Simas.
“He was definitely the target,” Simas said. She would not give more information about the alleged attacker for his own protection.
Once Pinell was attacked in a California State Prison, Sacramento, exercise yard by his fellow inmate, “everyone else joined in,” Simas said, including members of multiple prison gangs.
Eleven other inmates were taken to an outside hospital to be treated for stab wounds, while other injured inmates were treated at the prison. No employees were harmed. Guards fired three shots and used pepper spray to break up the brawl.
Forty-four years ago, Pinell helped slit the throats of San Quentin prison guards during an escape attempt that led to the deaths of three guards, two inmate trustees and escape ringleader George Jackson, who was fatally shot as he ran toward an outside prison wall, according to Associated Press stories.
Jackson was a Black Panther leader, founder of the Black Guerrilla Family prison gang, and author of the 1970 book “Soledad Brother,” written after he and other inmates were accused of killing a Soledad prison guard in January 1970.
Guards testified that Jackson started the escape attempt when he pulled a smuggled 9-mm pistol from under his six-inch-high Afro hairdo and fatally shot two correctional officers.
Correctional Officer Urbano Rubiaco Jr. survived to later testify that Pinell used a knife made of razor blades embedded in a toothbrush handle to slash Rubiaco’s neck.
“He said `I love you pigs’ and then he cut my throat,” Rubiaco said. He was one of two guards taken hostage by 25 inmates who were released from their cells during the escape attempt.