Photo: Rich Pedroncelli, Associated Press
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Pelican Bay State Prison is seen outside of Crescent City, Calif. in this 2001 file photo. On Wednesday, eight law enforcement officers were hurt and five inmates were shot and wounded when a melee broke out in the prison s general population yard.
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At least eight law enforcement officers and seven inmates were injured Wednesday morning in a riot at Pelican Bay State Prison that ended when guards fired live ammunition into the crowd, state corrections officials said. All of those injured were taken to outside hospitals for treatment. Two of the prison staff members remained hospitalized with significant but non-life-threatening injuries, officials said. Five of the seven inmates were being treated for gunshot wounds, but their conditions were not immediately available Wednesday afternoon. The riot at the prison in Crescent City (Del Norte County) started with a fistfight between two inmates in the maximum-security general population yard. About 10:30 a.m., officers responding to the fight used chemical agents and batons to try to break it up. But large groups of inmates ran into the yard and quickly overwhelmed the officers, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
As the melee grew out of control, officers from three armed posts fired 19 shots into the yard. Officers also fired at least three nonlethal foam rounds to quash the brawl. Two inmate-made weapons were recovered after the fight, although it wasn t clear whether they were used in the riot, officials said. Prison officials have restricted inmate movement throughout the facility while the riot is under investigation, and 97 inmates were placed in isolation units.
The Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation sent a team to the prison to investigate the use of deadly force. The department also is sending investigators from its Office of Correctional Safety.
Pelican Bay State Prison, near the Oregon border, houses about 2,000 inmates and has a staff of about 1,300. The prison has two maximum-security facilities.
Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
After the game, Matt Joyce was convinced that the ball he hit in the fifth inning to give the A s a 3-2 lead should have been for extra bases. Instead, it was a 9-4-3 out, and Joyce, rather than being in scoring position with one out, was sitting at first base, having been tagged out by Nick Martinez, pointing down the line in protest. Afterwards, Joyce explained:
It hit the chair. For me it was at least a double, possibly a triple down in the corner like that. I don t know, I just didn t know the rule and obviously came off the base a little too far. The ball kicked right to Mazara. Just a really weird play. I m not a fan of that rule right there, I don t agree with that whatsoever. I m not the type that s going to point the finger at anybody, but for a home-team security or the guy that s on the chair down there, if he can get up and leave the chair and maybe it ll kick and [that s] exactly what happened. When their guy hits it down there, obviously he s going to pick it up. Who knows if that s what the plan was, but that s the way it happened. We had a great rally going there. Just weird.”
I was not able to confirm any of this independently with the security guard, but if his plan for a Rangers victory tonight was to convince Matt Joyce to hit a go-ahead 2-run single before convincing him to pause-and-point while the play continued, well, perhaps we should all just take a step back and respect his unorthodox-but-clearly-effective magic powers. There is another theory, one that Joyce didn t mention, but it seems a little more likely to have contributed to the Rangers 6-5 victory on Saturday: the A s bullpen was bad, and the Rangers offense has woken up from its Spring hibernation.
Yeah, you know, everybody s going to struggle at some point in the season, Nomar Mazara said after the game I just try to keep working hard, never give up, and try not to put my head down; come up here every day to do the best I can. I ve been feeling pretty good the last couple weeks, and we saw the result tonight.
Mazara s 7th inning double his second of the night, a solidly-struck line drive just over the glove of a fully-extended Khris Davis leap was the capper, bringing in the fifth and sixth runs of the evening. The usually-serene Mazara clapped his hands and celebrated with the sort of abandon we re not used to seeing from the Big Chill. It put us on the board, on top, some more runs, he said later. Yeah, it always means a lot to bring guys in. Ahh, but we re ahead of ourselves. A lot happened to lead to that one big moment. Nick Martinez and Sonny Gray, neither of whom had a win this season, were both coming off performances in which they allowed four runs. Martinez came in San Diego, and was the last loss the Rangers had suffered. Tonight, both starters were tough, each commanding the ball well and attacking the strike zone with good results. But in baseball, someone must score first, and tonight it was the Rangers,, in the bottom of the third. Joey Gallo walked, and came home on an Elvis Andrus single.
But in the top of the fourth, the A s struck back immediately. Jed Lowrie doubled, and scored on a Yonder Alonso single. Then, after the two starters had strung together 5 scoreless half-innings, it seemed like each team would be scoring in every half-inning for awhile now. The Rangers took their second lead of the night in the bottom of the fourth, when Robinson Chirinos bloop single led to a first-and-third after a Mike Napoli single. Carlos Gomez drove Chirinos home on a ground ball to third base. In the top of the fifth, it was the infamous chair play, one that Martinez played perfectly, drawing on his old infielder instincts to cover first base and make the tag. As soon as I saw how aggressive the turn was, I knew I was able to sneak in there (…) I was hoping Odor was going to come up firing, and he did. He made a good throw. The A s added a run in the top of the 7th on a series of bloops, bleeders, and bouncers, and it was 4-2 as the Rangers came to the plate in the bottom of the inning. But then, for the third night in a row, it was comeback time.
Joey Gallo walked. Delino DeShields singled. Then they both moved up a base on a wild pitch. Shin-Soo Choo took a seven-pitch walk to load the bases. And then Elvis Andrus smashed a ball to left field to tie the game. Not satisfied with a tie (since that is not allowed in baseball anyway; you can t be satisfied with something that cannot exist), Nomar Mazara hit the go-ahead line drive. Davis route wasn t great. Who knows how the game would have turned out if he had broken backwards instead of to his left. But what happened happened. Davis broke left and the ball went over his head. Joyce rounded the base too far, and he was out. The security guard worked his wizard-magnet skills and the ball bounced off the chair. And Keone Kela despite allowing an Alonso solo home run held the lead in the 8th and Matt Bush struck out two en route to getting the save. The Rangers have won five straight, and will go for the sweep on Sunday afternoon.
Yeah, I think one of the biggest at-bats in that inning was the walk by Gallo, down in the count, didn t chase, drew the walk. Delino coming through with a base hit, and then the walk Choo, pitching change which set up the opportunity for the rest of the hitters. Inside that inning were some very strong quality at-bats that earlier in the season that we weren t putting together in those situations, and so we re kind of on that roll where these guys are, the professional at-bats, the quality at-bats, the patience and the ability to put some pressure on a pitcher and then the guys that are come through came through.
Banister, on Mazara:
Yeah. We were in San Diego, he fouled a ball off to the left side, kind of an indicator that he s staying behind the ball better and not getting out front, and not spinning off. I think that kind of timing, when you pay attention to it as a hitter, can really pay dividends for you. Staying inside the ball, that bat path that he really needs to be successful. He was able tonight to really get a ball out there, where that kind of timing allowed him to drive the ball in the gap.
I think that this past week has been amazing. We know that we didn t start the season the way we wanted, but there s plenty of season ahead, and I think trying to finding that consistency as a team, that s what we re looking (for) right now
Andrus, on being 0-for-12 vs. Hendriks:
“I have a good memory but he throws fastballs and I like fastballs. I like that matchup. Anybody who throws fastballs, I like that matchup, especially knowing he is aggressive. I just looked for my pitch and put a good swing on it.”
“I felt good out there. Most of the credit goes to Robbie and his game plan. He kept me on track. He and Lucroy having being doing it all year for us. Those guys have done a tremendous job back there. Attacking guys and sticking to the scouting report and communicating during the game, making sure we don t get off track of what we want to do. Sometimes we can lose track of what we want to do, what our game plan is.
Martinez, on the play at first:
“I know Nap dove for the ball and I saw that Joyce had taken a wide turn. As soon as I saw how aggressive the turn was I was able to sneak in there. Maybe it s old hat playing the field in my younger days.
I was hoping Odor was going to come up firing and he did.”
Predators steer clear of biting swarm of defenders.
(Inside Science) — Imagine a swarm of venomous, quivering jaws surrounding the food you are about to eat. Would you change your mind about dinner? Fish do, as it turns out. And that’s good news for collector sea urchins, spiky creatures 4 to 5 inches across that live in shallow waters mostly around Australia. Collector urchins’ shells are carpeted with tiny, biting appendages called pedicellariae. When threatened, the urchins release the heads of their pedicellariae en masse, creating a snapping cloud of defenders that predators are loathe to approach.
“You can see a pedicellaria head when it’s just being released from the urchin, and it’s, like, twitching. It’s got its jaws open, with the fangs on the end,” said Hannah Sheppard-Brennand, a marine ecologist at Southern Cross University in New South Wales, Australia and first author of a new study describing the phenomenon in The American Naturalist. As far as she knows, this is the first documented case of an animal releasing autonomous venom devices — detached organs that can sense their surroundings and independently deliver their payload.
Many people are familiar with the spiny appearance of sea urchins, but most have probably never noticed the pedicellariae that grow between the spines. Each one is less than a millimeter across, and they come in several different types, some of which are more suited to cleaning away algae than fighting off predators. Collector urchins have a particularly fearsome variety of pedicellariae consisting of stalks topped with biting jaws. The three sections of the jaws open outward like flower petals, each one ending in a venomous fang. A dense forest of these structures covers the collector urchin’s shell, waving and snapping in response to touch, chemical signals and looming shadows.
“They open and close in response to changes in light,” said Sheppard-Brennand. “If there’s contact on the [shell], then they all rotate toward that contact.”
Researchers have long known that some sea urchins use pedicellariae for defense against predators. But in most species, the organs remain attached, only tearing loose after they have clamped down on an enemy. Sheppard-Brennand and her colleagues suspected that something else was going on with the collector sea urchin, a large species that is sometimes eaten by humans. No matter how gently the researchers handled collector urchins in the lab, their hands soon became covered with detached pedicellaria heads. Occasionally, the tiny jaws managed to bite human skin, often on the webbing between fingers, said Sheppard-Brennand. The bite, she said, feels like a bee sting. Past researchers have occasionally observed that some urchins seem to lose their pedicellariae at the slightest provocation. But until now, no one had studied the behavior systematically, said Sheppard-Brennand. She and her colleagues gathered sea urchins from five species that live in the same Australian reef, then gently tapped their shells with forceps to simulate a predator attack. Four of the urchin species kept their pedicellariae, but the collector sea urchins released a continuous stream of the biting appendages. In the original experiments, collector urchins released tens of pedicellariae per trial, but in subsequent tests, which have not yet been written up and published, they spewed hundreds over the course of 30 seconds, said Sheppard-Brennand. Even this loss doesn’t leave the animals undefended, she added. Collector sea urchins have so many pedicellariae that they can lose a few hundred at a time and not look any different. The pedicellariae grow back in about 40 to 50 days, she said.
In the second part of the study, Sheppard-Brennand and her colleagues confirmed that the collector urchin’s defense is effective against predators. They found that fish were reluctant to eat food with pedicellariae embedded in it, both in the lab and in the wild. Moreover, fish in the lab avoided water downstream of an irritated urchin, perhaps smelling some chemical signal that the urchin released along with its pedicellariae.
“I think this discovery that they’ve made is very intriguing,” said Linda Weiss, an animal ecologist at the Ruhr-University Bochum in Germany, who was not involved in the study. Weiss studies anti-predator defenses, and is familiar with sea urchin pedicellariae. But she didn’t know that some urchins could send their pedicellariae “swarming out as little defenders, really deterring predators,” she said. The collector urchin’s unique defense could help explain its unusual behavior. While other sea urchins in the same habitat only venture out at night, collector urchins are bold enough to forage throughout the day. Perhaps, said Sheppard-Brennand, the ability to release pedicellariae gives these urchins extra protection, making it worth the risk of exposing themselves in daylight. Still, she noted, the defense isn’t perfect, as collector urchins are often found in predators’ stomachs. Perfect or not, pedicellariae are amazing structures. With their twisting stalks and snapping heads, they remind Sheppard-Brennand of the tall, venomous, science fiction plant-monsters known as Triffids.
“If you ever get the chance to look down a microscope at the [shell] of a sea urchin, it’s well worth it,” she said. “They’re so strange, and so sort of terrifying — just on that minute scale.”