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MELEE AT CALIFORNIA PRISON LEAVES 1 DEAD

The worst violence at Folsom Prison in seven years left one inmate dead and five seriously injured.

Prison officials said 25 to 30 inmates battled Thursday morning in an exercise yard occupied by about 300 prisoners. Several had weapons made within the prison.Spokeswoman Lt. Cammy Voss said three suffered gunshot wounds and two stab wounds. The guards fired 10 shots from their second-story posts to break up the brawl.

A strip search of all prisoners in the yard revealed 43 men with minor wounds. But officers said some of those probably happened earlier and elsewhere but hadn't yet been reported.

The fight appeared to have been racially motivated, Voss said. Mostly black and Hispanic prisoners and a couple of white prisoners were involved.

But it was apparently not gang-related, she said. "We don't know why it erupted," she added.

The slain inmate was identified as Michael Coleman, 29. He had arrived April 20 to begin a four-year term for armed robbery in Los Angeles County. He died of stab wounds 20 minutes after the fight began.

Officers locked all of the maximum-security prison's 7,000 inmates into their cells after the fight broke out at the prison 20 miles east of Sacramento.