Report: Mass breakout in Yakima started as jail riot

YAKIMA, Wash. -- Last week's mass breakout from the Yakima County jail began with an inmate refusing to go back to his bed, leading to a riot.

Reports filed by county Department of Corrections officers in court state that one inmate incited others in the jail to throw furniture and other items at officers before breaking down a fire door and escaping.

The Yakima Herald-Republic reports that while the riot was the initial catalyst, those who escaped later told investigators that fear of contracting COVID-19 in the jail was a motivating factor in their decisions to leave.

Fourteen inmates were able to escape, with eight of them apprehended within 15 minutes of the breakout. The remaining six were rounded up over the course of the week, with the last one arrested Friday in Wapato.

The breakout was the largest in the jail’s history. In 2005, nine maximum-security inmates punched a hole in the jail’s roof and escaped.