California inmate killed in prison yard attack

Authorities say Enrique Saucedo was allegedly assaulted by David Veloz and Rigoberto Estrada in the yard of Centinela State Prison on Jan. 7. / California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation

The death of an incarcerated man who guards said was assaulted by two fellow inmates at a Southern California prison is being investigated as a homicide, state corrections officials said Monday.

Officers used seven applications of pepper spray to quell the attack Sunday on 29-year-old Enrique Saucedo in the recreational yard at Centinela State Prison in Imperial County, according to a statement from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

Saucedo was taken by ambulance to a medical center, where he died in the emergency room, the statement said.

Two inmate-manufactured weapons were recovered at the scene, officials said.

The two alleged attackers, David Veloz and Rigoberto Estrada, are each serving sentences for murder, and were placed in restricted housing. The death is being investigated by prison officials and the county district attorney’s office. The county coroner will determine Saucedo’s official cause of death.

No staff members or other inmates were injured.

Saucedo was sentenced in 2018 to 14 years for distributing assault weapons and a controlled substance.

Centinela holds about 2,300 men at a sprawling facility about 100 miles east of San Diego, near the Mexico border.