WASHINGTON — One person was killed and five others were hospitalized in a violent clash between black and white inmates on Sunday at the nation’s largest federal prison complex.
The U.S. Bureau of Prisons identified the inmate who was killed as Troi Venable, 39, who was serving a 17-year term at the Florida penitentiary for assault and gun possession by a felon.
Federal authorities did not characterize the nature of Sunday's melee. But Joe Rojas, local chief of the prison workers union, described it as a long-simmering battle between black and white inmates.
Rojas said Venable was killed with a homemade knife.
In a statement, prison officials said the altercation involving "multiple inmates" broke out about 11:45 a.m., at the United States Penitentiary at Coleman, Florida. The facility is part of a cluster of federal prisons west of Orlando.
An undisclosed number of inmates were treated for minor injuries at the prison, while Venable and five others were transported to local hospitals.
Venable, who had been implicated in a prior violent assault against a fellow prisoner while housed at the Lewisburg, Pennsylvania federal prison in 2014, was pronounced dead at a local hospital.
In the 2014 incident, prosecutors charged Venable and two other prisoners with seriously injuring another inmate using "improvised weapons."
Venable had been at the Florida facility since 2017.
The Coleman prison, one of the bureau's high-security facilities with 1,323 inmates, has been locked-down since the Sunday morning clash, Rojas said, adding that prisoners were being confined to their cells and visitation had been suspended.
Last year, the Coleman complex drew scrutiny when gangster Whitey Bulger was transferred from Florida only to be murdered shortly after his arrival at a federal prison in Hazelton, West Virginia.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: One inmate killed, five hospitalized after melee at Florida prison