Police: 6 injured in large fight at juvenile facility

EMLENTON, Pa. (AP) — Six people were injured in a large fight at a juvenile detention and treatment center that was the scene of a riot a few weeks ago, authorities said.

Police in Butler County said troopers from three barracks, as well as two Emlenton officers, were called to Mid Atlantic Youth Services Center facility in Allegheny Township at about 5:30 p.m. Saturday.

Two dozen student-inmates were fighting at the center about 50 miles north of Pittsburgh and several staff members were assaulted, police said. At least four staff members and two student-inmates were taken by ambulance to hospitals, police said.

Corp. Tim Morando told the Butler Eagle that the fight broke out in the facility’s cafeteria and appeared to involve rival detainees from the Pittsburgh and Philadelphia areas.

A staff member who stepped in to try to stop the fight was pummeled, he said.

“He was beat up pretty bad about the face,” said Morando.

Police believe some, if not most, of the youths used the fight as a pretext to target staff, he said.

“Clearly,” Morando said, “students were seeking out staff members to assault.”

Some staff members were left with moderate injuries, Trevor Hile, director of Emlenton Ambulance, told the paper.

“They had facial cuts and bruises,” he said. “Some had neck injuries. Some had head injuries. Some had rib and hand injuries.”

State police said charges were planned once interviews are completed and the video is reviewed.

Police were called back to the facility on Sunday after 10 youths were reported to have gotten out of their secured units but remained confined to their pod. Three were arrested. No injuries were reported.

On May 18, authorities said a melee involving about 40 youths that also started in the cafeteria and involved youths from Philadelphia injured at least eight staff members.

Officials said two rival groups of prisoners used an interior door left unlocked to get at each other, and staff members trying to break up the fighting were overwhelmed.

Police later charged a 19-year-old Philadelphia man and several juveniles with aggravated assault, rioting and simple assault.

The center houses males between 16 and 21 years old and counsels those with drug, alcohol and criminal problems. The residents are placed there by juvenile courts across the state.