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Vista jail cell where deputy was attacked was not retrofitted with security measure

Vista deputy attacked
Posted at 4:23 PM, Feb 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-17 20:38:18-05

VISTA, Calif. (KGTV) - There are growing concerns about whether a weekend attack on a deputy by two inmates at the Vista jail could have been prevented. ABC 10News discovered that the jail cell had not been updated with an additional security measure.

The San Diego County Sheriff's Department confirmed that the attack happened when the deputy had to open an entire cell door to pass along a food tray.

On Wednesday, new details emerged about the Vista Detention Center where deputy Michael Cascioppo was assaulted on Saturday, leaving him with a black eye, bloodied bandages wrapped around his head and a neck brace.

The Vista jail is the oldest in the county, with housing modules that act as access points to get to rooms full of cells. ABC 10News learned on Wednesday that while module doors have ports built in to slide items through, not all of the jail's cell doors have been updated with built-in ports.

The department provided a photo of the exact cell door at the jail where the attack happened, according to a spokesperson. It can be seen in the photo that there is no small delivery port built into the door, meaning that the entire must opened, which is what the department confirms happened last weekend.

The deputy was reportedly escorting a nurse when an inmate asked him to pass a food tray to other inmates next door. The deputy then reportedly opened the entire cell door to pass the tray, when two inmates rushed him, and repeatedly punched and kicked him.

The department confirmed that there have been plans to retrofit additional cells with ports, but a spokesperson would not say when that is supposed to happen.

Before the pandemic, we're told that deliveries were made through the ports at the front module doors. Now, items are delivered directly to cells to minimize contact between inmates who are in the same module.

The department declined ABC 10News' request for an interview.

A spokesperson said that the deputy who was injured is at home and is recovering.