Sask. inmate dies after prison brawl

Police and corrections officials were piecing together what triggered a melee at a Saskatchewan prison that left one inmate dead this weekend.
Courtney Cook died after a brawl in the gym at Saskatchewan Penitentiary on Friday.
Police and corrections officials were piecing together what triggered a melee at a Saskatchewan prison that left one inmate dead this weekend.

The fight involving roughly 30 prisoners happened Friday night in the gym at the Saskatchewan Penitentiary in Prince Albert. The inmates were from the medium security unit at the prison, police and the Correctional Service of Canada said Saturday.

The dead inmate was identified as Courtney Dallas Cook.

"As in all cases where an individual dies in custody, the police and the coroner are called to investigate. The medium security is on a general lockdown while the investigation is occurring and we will look at when it is safe to reopen the institution," deputy warden Kathy Neil said Saturday.

Neil said Cook had been serving a sentence of over two years for dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death and failing to comply with a probation order.

Saskatchewan Penitentiary is a federal facility that has 503 medium-security inmates and 166 maximum-security prisoners.

According to Neil, the facility is below capacity in both the medium- and maximum-security units.

Seven inmates were taken to hospital and were in need of "immediate medical attention," officials said. No staff members were injured.

2nd death this year

Daniel Wolfe was stabbed to death at the prison in January. ((RCMP))
The prison was also the scene of a fatality earlier this year when inmate Daniel Wolfe was killed. Wolfe, a founding member of the Indian Posse gang, was stabbed twice in the chest on Jan. 4. Two other inmates were stabbed in that incident.

Neil noted that Wolfe's death occurred in the maximum-security section of the prison, while the fight that led to Cook's death was in the medium-security section.

Neil said that Cook's family has been notified. She would not divulge what province he was from and was not able to provide his age.

Neil wouldn't provide any other details of the fight, such as how long it lasted or whether any weapons were used, because she said the incident is still under investigation. "The CSC examines every incident of violence. We work hard to prevent or reduce any violence and we will review this incident in order to improve our practices and try to prevent any future incidents," Neil said.

Francis Yukon was sentenced last month to seven years after pleading guilty to one count of manslaughter and one count of attempted murder in connection with Wolfe's death. Five other inmates were charged in the death.

At the time, Yukon was serving a life sentence for second-degree murder in the stabbing death of another inmate, James Ronald Taylor, at Saskatchewan Penitentiary in 2005.

Taylor was stabbed five times during a basketball game at the prison.