CREATED Sep. 20, 2012 - UPDATED: Sep. 21, 2012
Reporter: Cory Marshall
Web Producers: Rikki Mitchell, Mekita Rivas
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - A disturbance at the state prison complex on Wilmot Road has been called a mass casualty incident, according to officials with Tucson Fire.
Officials with the Arizona Department of Corrections saythe fight started in the Santa Rita Unit, a medium security yard, at about 5:30 p.m. on Thursday.
A total of eleven inmates and three officers were taken to the hospital. Five inmates remain at the University of Arizona Medical Center. All three officers have since been treated and released with minor injuries.
An estimated 200 inmates were involved in the brawl. Control of the unit was regained within 30 minutes.
KGUN9 asked Tucson complex spokesman Dave Mueller, how something like this could happen. "I can't speculate on this. They only thing I would say is, it's a medium custody yard. The inmates have a certain amount of freedom to move around and anytime you let a lot of inmates out of their cell there is always the potential."
Officials with the department say the Santa Rita Unit will not hold visitation hours this weekend. Other units inside the state prison are no longer on lockdown.
Mueller tells KGUN9 once instigators are identified, they will be moved to a maximum security unit.
"We'll have to rely upon staff witnesses.There were a lot of staff present who observed a lot and also inmate information as well," said Mueller.
An investigation into the riot is ongoing.