Calif. inmate in brawl fatally shot by guard

By Mark Martin
The San Francisco Chronicle

Overcrowded conditions in California have promted the creation of "emergency" sleeping areas, as shown above in Los Angeles county. (AP Photo/Spencer Weiner, Pool)
An inmate at a Kern County prison died Thursday after being shot earlier this week by guards trying to break up a fight, corrections authorities said.

The inmate, Timothy Calnan, was shot Monday after he and another inmate attacked a third inmate in a maximum-security yard at Kern Valley State Prison in Delano, officials said. Calnan died in a hospital.

The shooting comes as overcrowding has heightened tension in all of California's 33 prisons. Kern Valley, built to hold 2,448 inmates, is housing 4,949, according to a population report from last week.

Prison officials said that Calnan ignored several orders to stop fighting Monday and that guards fired four nonlethal foam pellets at the brawling inmates.

When the fighting continued, an officer fired his rifle at Calnan, who was hit on his right side.

One inmate who was stabbed during the fight remains hospitalized in stable condition.

The officer who shot Calnan has been placed on paid administrative leave while the incident is investigated by the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation's internal affairs unit and the Kern County district attorney's office.

Calnan, 41, was serving time on a third-strike conviction from San Diego County. He was sentenced to 496 years for two counts of receiving stolen property, one count of second-degree burglary, six counts of first-degree burglary, four counts of possession of a firearm by an ex-felon, one count of possession of marijuana for sale, and one count of possession of a controlled substance.

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