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Injured correctional officers recovering after bloody melee at Donovan state prison

Posted at 4:35 PM, Aug 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-25 21:13:54-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Loved ones are speaking out more than a week after a bloody melee that injured eight guards at Donovan state prison in Otay Mesa.

The violence erupted two Sundays ago, around 4 p.m., inside the recreation yard. Corrections officials say there were about 20 inmates in the yard when one of them attacked a guard. His fellow guards rushed to help. In the mayhem that followed, four inmates allegedly assaulted guards. Six of the guards suffered stab wounds.

Christina Armstrong's longtime boyfriend, correctional officer Malcolm Billingsley, was in the middle of it.

"The best way I hear him describe it is a 'melee, just chaos' ... There was so much going on, it was hard for him to pinpoint each action that was taken," said Armstrong.

Corrections officials say a warning shot by one of the guards ended the altercation. As the guards were rushed to hospitals, news filtered out to loved ones.

"It was frightening not knowing for several hours what was going on. It was terrifying," said Armstrong.

Billingsley was not stabbed, but suffered a back injury and possible nerve damage to his hand.

"It's hard for him to everyday things. He can't take care of our son, let alone play with him. He's in a lot of pain," said Armstrong.

His fellow guard Roland Milan was stabbed in the face and suffered a brain bleed. His wife Marcy says he's had four plates inserted into his face.

"A stab wound to the face, to the mouth area. All his upper teeth were knocked out," she said.

Sources say in all, eight guards were injured, including one with a fractured bone in his back.

Armstrong says because of an ongoing investigation, she can't reveal details of the melee, but says the guards fought hard for their lives and the lives of their fellow guards.

"They are all heroes. Malcolm went to work that day to carry out his duty as a correctional officer an he became a victim but his strength and courage allowed him to come home a hero," said Armstrong, choking back tears.

Corrections officials say the four inmates could face attempted murder charges.

Gofundme campaigns have been set up for both Milan and Billingsley to help with expenses.