HDSP officials investigate suspected inmate murder

According to a statement from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, officials are investigating the Friday, May 3, 2024, death of an inmate at High Desert State Prison as a homicide.

At 9:31 a.m. two inmates, John Patch and Zachary Harris, allegedly attacked Scott Cook, another inmate. Two inmate-manufactured weapons were recovered at the scene.

Staff immediately responded to the attack and discovered Cook had sustained multiple stab wounds. Life-saving measures were performed, and he was transported to the triage and treatment area. Cook was pronounced deceased by medical staff at 9:53 a.m. No staff or additional incarcerated people were injured.

Patch and Harris have been moved to restricted housing pending the investigation into this case.

Prison officials have limited population movement on the yard to facilitate the investigation being conducted by HDSP Investigative Services Unit and the Lassen County District Attorney’s Office. The Office of the Inspector General was notified, and the Lassen County Coroner will determine Cook’s official cause of death.

Deceased inmate Scott Cook.

Scott Cook, 49, was received from San Bernardino County on Nov. 16, 2000, sentenced to life without parole for first-degree murder, carjacking, kidnapping and grand theft with use of a firearm enhancement.  He was also sentenced in Kern County to 16 years, eight months for assault by prisoner with deadly weapon or force likely to cause great bodily injury, in prison offense, second striker (two counts), and possession manufactured of deadly weapon by prisoner in-prison offense second striker.

Alleged attacker Zachary Harris.

Zachary Harris, 36, was received from San Diego County on July 21, 2021, sentenced to 24 years, eight months for second-degree attempted murder, second striker, with a use of a firearm enhancement; manufacture, sale, possess short barrel shotgun or rifle, second striker; evade or attempt to evade peace officer while driving reckless, second striker; first-degree burglary, second striker; and assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury, second striker. He was also sentenced in Kern County to 11 years for assault by prisoner with means of fore likely to cause great bodily injury, second striker, in prison offense Tate decision.

Alleged attacker John Patch.

John Patch, 30, was received from San Diego County on Dec. 21, 2022, sentenced to life with parole for second-degree murder with personal use of dangerous or deadly weapon; assault with a deadly weapon that inflicted great bodily injury to victim comatose or suffer paralysis; and assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury.

HDSP, located in Lassen County, opened in 1995 and houses 2,507 minimum-, medium-, and maximum-custody inmates. The prison provides academic classes, vocational instruction, work assignments and rehabilitation programs and employs more than 1,200 people.