Inmates at the Stafford County annex of the Rappahannock Regional Jail baited a guard into their cell early Monday and then punched him, stole his keys and locked him in a room, jail officials said. The inmates then opened several cells, and a few other prisoners joined the disturbance, they said.
Officials said the guard, who was making his usual rounds, was attacked after opening a cell to pass cleaning supplies to inmates whose toilet was not working. After being locked in a room, he radioed for help, and the Stafford County Sheriff's Department responded. The guard did not suffer serious injuries, and the inmates soon released him from the room.
Approximately 90 inmates and three guards were in the annex when the incident occurred and as many as five prisoners will face various charges, officials said.
It took officials nearly three hours to regain control of the annex.
"During that three-hour period, the sheriff's office and the emergency response team were all there planning what to do," said Capt. Rick Martin, director of community corrections at the jail. A hostage negotiator also was summoned, although the renegade inmates did not make any demands.
The sheriff's office did not return calls seeking comment.
Jail officials still are trying to determine what the freed prisoners were doing during this time, though they do not think they were trying to escape.
"We don't know" what they were doing, Martin said. "There was very little, almost unmentionable, damage to [the] building. One window was broken; one shower stall bar ripped open. There was next-to-no damage. It was really quite unbelievable."
Even if the inmates had been trying to escape, they would not have been able to because the locked area they are housed in is controlled by an electronic system in the central security office, Martin said.
Although several cells were opened, only a small number of prisoners joined the disturbance, he said. "It seems like a very small number," Martin said. "Most of the inmates didn't want to participate."
Officials did not release the names of the inmates or the guard.
"We really don't know what was in their mind or what they were thinking," Martin said.