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Second St. Louis Jail disturbance in two months brought under control, city official says

St. Louis authorities say the city jail was brought under control after about 60 inmates breached their cell doors and smashed windows Sunday night — the second such disturbance at the jail in two months.

“Earlier tonight, there were two violent and dangerous disturbances that unfolded at the City Justice Center downtown,” said Jacob Long, the spokesperson for St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson.

“They originated from two units on the third floor beginning at approximately 8:30 p.m. Detainees became non-compliant, covered security cameras, smashed windows, and destroyed property.”

According to affiliate video from the scene, the situation at the jail appeared to calm down shortly before 11:30 p.m. CT.

Long said he did not have any reports of serious injuries. He didn’t provide any additional details on what lead to the disturbances. The Corrections Division, the city police and fire departments and the sheriff’s office “worked together to respond accordingly and bring the situation to a resolution,” he said.

St. Louis City Sheriff Vernon Betts described the situation Sunday night to CNN affiliate KMOV, saying there were “about 60 inmates on the third floor who have breached the cell doors.” At the time Betts did not believe any guards had been injured but said “we may have a couple of injured inmates.”

KMOV reported that about a dozen inmates were yelling out of the broken windows, with some demanding court dates on their charges. The city has delayed many court hearings because of the coronavirus pandemic, KMOV said.

In some additional video from KMOV, windows on the right side of the building were smashed out from the inside as a crowd gathered on the sidewalk below.

Video shot at the scene by CNN affiliate KSDK showed what appeared to be inmates breaking out third-floor windows on the left side of the City Justice Center.

A fire could also be seen burning in the corner of a lower roof of the building below one of the broken windows. A fire truck was on the scene and the area in front of the City Justice Center has been roped off with police tape.

Less than two months ago, a similar incident occurred at the same facility. CNN reported that 115 inmates escaped their cells, broke windows and set small fires in their units. At least one corrections officer was hurt.

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