CDCR investigating inmate death at High Desert State Prison following altercation

According to a statement from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, there is an ongoing investigation regarding the death of an inmate at High Desert State Prison who died of his injuries after being involved in a physical altercation with another inmate and possibly being hit in the head with a less lethal 40mm round fired by a correctional officer.

According to the statement, about 7:18 a.m. Wednesday, June 5, correctional staff observed Jarray D. Birdon, 38, and another incarcerated individual in a fight. Staff quickly responded, first issuing verbal orders to stop and get down, which were ignored. As the altercation continued, Birdon was struck several times in the face and head by the aggressor’s fists and knee before falling to the ground. Staff used one less lethal 40mm direct impact round and chemical agents to stop the fight

During the altercation, Birdon also had injuries consistent with being hit in the head with the 40mm round. The other unidentified inmate involved in the altercation sustained a fractured right hand. No staff were injured during the incident.

Staff quickly summoned emergency services. Birdon was transported to an outside hospital where he remained until Friday, June 7, and at 12:41 p.m. he was pronounced deceased.

The officer who deployed the 40mm impact round is currently on administrative leave consistent with CDCR policy. The officer’s name is being withheld due to the ongoing investigation.

The Office of the Inspector General and the Office of Internal Affairs have been notified.

Birdon was sentenced in Sacramento County on Nov. 29, 2007, to four years in prison for possession of a controlled substance and received by CDCR on Jan. 23, 2008. He was released to Post-Release Community Supervision with the Sacramento County Probation Department on Oct. 27, 2010, after serving his full sentence as defined by law.

Birdon was sentenced in Sacramento County on June 7, 2013, to 16 years four months for assault with a firearm likely to cause great bodily injury, a second-strike offense, possessing/owning a firearm by a felon or addict, a second-strike offense, criminal threat to cause great bodily injury/death, a second-strike offense, with enhancements for having a prior felony conviction of a serious offense.