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Prisoners break windows, set fires at city jail

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Inmates yell from broken windows at the St. Louis Justice Center, known as the city jail, after fires were set at the facility on Saturday, Feb. 6, 2021. Photo by Robert Cohen, rcohen@post-dispatch.com

ST. LOUIS — Two inmates at the St. Louis City Justice Center have been charged with attacking a corrections officer Feb. 6 during the first of two recent riots at the jail.

Devion M. Chester, 29, of the 4100 block of Enright Avenue, was charged Monday with a felony count of assault of a special victim.

Devion Chester

Devion Chester, of St. Louis, was arrested in Kentucky on charges he murdered two people in St. Louis in 2016.

Lorenzo White, 36, of the 12400 block of Pizarro Drive in the Spanish Lake area of St. Louis County, was charged with one count of misdemeanor assault of a special victim.

Lorenzo White

Lorenzo White is one of two men charged with attacking a corrections officer Feb. 6, 2021, during a riot at the St. Louis City Justice Center.

The charge against Chester claims he refused a corrections officer’s instructions, and after the officer deployed pepper spray, Chester “rushed” the officer, punching him several times and causing injury to the officer’s face.

The charge against White says he pushed the same corrections officer to the floor as the officer was “engaged in a fight with another inmate.”

The unidentified corrections officer was treated and released from a hospital after the attack, officials said. Officials said inmates “jimmied” locks before more than 100 of them broke out of their cells, smashed windows and set fires on the fourth floor of the downtown jail. Faulty locks were cited in a second riot at the jail earlier this month.

At the time of the incident, Chester had two pending counts of murder, assault and armed criminal action that were later dismissed. He had been accused of killing two people July 4, 2016, outside Moma Minnie’s convenience store at Page Boulevard and Pendleton Avenue.

Court records say White had been held on charges including unlawful possession of a gun, fleeing police and leaving the scene of a crash.

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