A series of connected aggressive incidents and a threatening letter prompted a three-day lockdown at Atascadero State Hospital in late August, officials at the mental-health facility confirmed.
Rumors spread there that a race riot had occurred, but hospital officials say it was a nonracial string of related circumstances.
A lockdown means patients are kept inside their sleeping and living units. If the lockdown is on a weekday, then recovery groups do not take place, according to hospital officials.
The incidents began when one patient attacked a female psychiatric technician in a hallway Aug. 23, officials said.
Another patient who came to her rescue was then reportedly attacked later that evening by three other patients upset because he intervened.
The psychiatric technician — whose name was not disclosed — suffered serious injuries while the patient who came to her aid suffered minor injuries, officials said.
The patient who first attacked her was returned to the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation custody, officials said.
Three days later on Aug. 26, seven patients attacked one of the three who injured the patient who helped the psychiatric technician. He suffered minor injuries.
Two days later on Aug. 28, the hospital found a letter from one patient to another that said Latinos should rise up against black patients in the hospital later that evening in the courtyard.
ASH officials then put on the three-day lockdown and no racial attack took place.
In August, an employee said the three-day lockdown was because of a courtyard patient confrontation that spread into a hallway, but officials said that wasn’t the case.
After an investigation that ended Aug. 30, officials determined that the seven-patient attack on Aug. 26 was not racial or linked to the letter, but tied strictly to the psychiatric technician attack.
The letter might have been inspired by a race riot that occurred at Folsom State Prison in Northern California on Aug. 27, officials said.
The patient who wrote the letter was also returned to state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation custody.