WALLA WALLA — Two Washington State Penitentiary inmates were charged this week in Superior Court with assaulting a correctional officer who was stabbed with a sharpened toothbrush about a year ago.
Sgt. James Bailey, who was trying to stop the inmates from attacking others, reportedly escaped serious injury because the weapon wasn’t able to penetrate a thick notebook inside his shirt pocket.
Three other officers also were injured during the fight, which took place about 7:40 p.m. on Feb. 4, 2012, in the commons area of a living unit in the penitentiary’s West Complex that houses high-risk prisoners.
Bailey confronted inmates Castulo J. Rivas and John Valdez, who were armed with handmade, sharpened weapons, officials said. Bailey reportedly was focused on Rivas when Valdez started hitting him in the head and neck area.
“Sgt. Bailey said inmate Rivas then attacked him and proceeded to stab him several times in the chest with a sharpened plastic item that he believed had been a toothbrush,” according to a police report filed in court.
Rivas then allegedly switched from stabbing Bailey to punching him in the ribs.
Bailey took several blows before he was rescued by several correctional officers, the police report says.
He suffered only bumps and bruises because his memo pad prevented the sharpened toothbrush from penetrating his body.
Bailey and the other injured officers were treated at a local hospital and released. Four prison units were locked down for several days.
Rivas was charged in court Tuesday with first-degree assault on Bailey, accused of intending to inflict great bodily harm on him.
Valdez faces a lesser charge of custodial assault.
The inmates will be taken to the County Courthouse on Feb. 11 for their first appearances.