The overpopulated and understaffed Fulton County jail remained on lock down for most of the day Tuesday following reports that an inmate shot a fellow inmate.
According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the Fulton County Jail released few details about the shooting incident, which occurred around 11:30 a.m. Tuesday.
Jail spokesman Tracy Flanagan did confirm that an unidentified inmate was shot once in the hand by a fellow inmate. This report conflicted with an earlier statement from a sheriff's deputy inside the jail who told the AJC that the inmate was shot three times.
The alleged shooter was identified as Kortez Hurt, who has an extensive rap sheet, including 14 prior convictions for felony murder, aggravated assault, drug possession and theft charges.
Flanagan did not say how Hurt was able to obtain the small caliber handgun that was "no bigger than a mobile phone."
According to the AJC, a sweep of the jail turned up 20 cell phones, in addition to other contraband, which the inmates are not allowed to have. (The AJC later edited its website to remove any mention of the cell phones.)
Jail officials said the two inmates were involved in a dispute over the commissary (money). The shooting may also be gang related. The injured inmate was initially treated by jail medical personnel. His injuries are said to be non life threatening.
Immediately after the shooting, the jail went on lock down and all non-essential staff and food service workers were ordered out of the building. As the growing media assembled outside the jail, deputies were seen bringing refreshments and food to the food service workers as they waited in 90 degree temperatures in the parking lot.
In 2002, a federal judge ordered Fulton County to fix overcrowding and other problems at the jail after HIV-positive defendants complained of poor medical conditions endangering their lives. Overcrowding and security remains a problem at the jail.