Hostages Return Home After Reeves County Prison Riot

Photo Submitted by Jon Fulbright of the Pecos Enterprise
Photo Submitted by Jon Fulbright of the Pecos Enterprise

By: Sarah Snyder
NewsWest 9

After a riot at the Reeves County Detention Center, very few details are pouring out, but two hostages taken during the standoff are back home and we're told things are returning to normal at the prison. 

On Friday, inmates torched a building and took two hostages. After hours of negotiating, authorities reached a peaceful resolution.

We still don't know what started that riot on Friday afternoon, but we do know the inmates wanted better food, health care, and to speak to the Mexican consulate. 

Prison officials aren't saying much, but they did say, that things are calm. 

The prison is privately-run by a group out of Louisiana, but houses 2,400 federal inmates. Most of them are criminal illegal immigrants.

An operation that drew law enforcement from all over West Texas.

"When you throw in elements such as hostages, that's a different concern," DPS Trooper John Barton, said. "We want to make sure we can get a safe and successful release of those hostages by any necessary means we can do."

It was an nine hour standoff that started with flames and stones. Around 1:00 Friday afternoon, inmates set fire to the RCDC Recreation Center and started throwing rocks at guards.

"We have a lot of agencies here who are both local, state, and federal who are coordinating with each other and cooperating in all aspects of the operation," Barton said.

Two of the recreation staff employees, ages 57 and 60, were taken  hostage. The rec building was left smoldering. Fire officials couldn't get past more than a thousand inmates on the yard.

"They made a request for the Mexican Consolate," Barton said. "The Mexican Consolate has met with them, and talked with them. Their demands are pretty much the same, involving around medical care and the food."

Finally just after 10:00, one inmate, then two hours later the second were safely relased.

The Reeves County Detention Center will handle the investigation from here, but officials at the prison refuse to give an update, only saying things are calm.

"Any situation you have, whether you have hostages or not, when it involves a prison and a prison riot, first of all, we want to secure the facility," Barton said. "We want to make sure the people of Reeves County and the people of Pecos are safe."

Several agencies are still investigating. The Texas Rangers are looking into the death of one of the inmates who reportedly died of natural causes while in isolation. It's still unclear as to whether that incident started the fights.

NewsWest 9 has also learned the Reeves County Detention Center is hiring and there's no word on whether a lack of employees played a factor in the riots.