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CDCR Investigating Deadly Force Incident at High Desert State Prison

The High Desert State Prison Investigative Services Unit, CDCR’s Deadly Force investigation team, and the Lassen County District Attorney’s Office are investigating the deaths of two incarcerated people who were fatally shot by two correctional officers while committing a stabbing assault on another incarcerated person.

According to details released by the CDCR, on Tuesday, November 29th at 10:52a.m., Frank Nanez and Raul Cuen, attacked Anthony Aguilera with inmate manufactured weapons.

“Staff quickly responded, first issuing verbal orders to stop and get down, which were ignored. A warning shot from a Mini-14 rifle was fired, which had no effect. Staff then fired additional rounds when the attack continued. Chemical agents were also deployed. Both Nanez and Cuen sustained gunshot wounds. No other incarcerated people or staff members were injured. The inmate manufactured weapons were recovered.”

Medical staff responded and provided first aid to Aguilera, Cuen, and Nanez. Aguilera was transported to a local hospital for further treatment. He is still hospitalized in serious condition.

“Both medical and custody staff performed CPR on Cuen and Nanez; however, Cuen was pronounced deceased at 11:37a.m., and Nanez was pronounced deceased at 11:44a.m.

“The officers who deployed the Mini-14 rounds are currently on administrative leave consistent with CDCR policy. Their names are being withheld due to the ongoing investigation.”

Officials have limited movement on the yard where the incident happened to facilitate the investigation. The Office of the Inspector General was notified and the Lassen County Coroner will determine Nanez’s and Cuen’s official causes of death.

CDCR also sent the Deadly Force Investigations Team (DFIT) to HDSP assist in the investigation. DFIT is a team of trained CDCR investigators that conducts criminal and administrative investigations into every use of deadly force. A deadly force review board will conduct a full and complete review of the incident as well.

Raul Cuen, 48, was admitted from Tulare County on January 27, 1994. He was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole for first-degree murder, with an enhancement for use of a deadly weapon.

Frank Nanez, 32, was admitted from Tulare County on February 2, 2012, to serve seven years to life without the possibility of parole for first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder, with multiple counts of an intentional discharge of a firearm.

Anthony Aguilera, 68, was admitted from Santa Clara County in March 2007 with a life with the possibility of parole sentence for attempted first and second-degree murder, intentional discharge of a firearm, inflicting great bodily injury and committing a street gang act in the commission of a violent felony.

HDSP opened in 1995 and houses approximately 1,700 incarcerated people. It is located near Susanville, in Northern California. HDSP offers academic classes, vocational programs, rehabilitative programs, medical services, and mental health services, religious services, work assignments and self-help groups, and employs approximately 1,000 people.

Jeremy Couso
Jeremy Couso
SusanvilleStuff.com Publisher/Editor
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