CONYERS — Four male Rockdale County Jail inmates — all 21 years old and under — were formally charged Monday with inciting a riot in a penal institution and interference with government property.
The Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office charged Michael Avery, 21, 508 W. Kindare Ave., Atlanta; Ronald Al-Shaud Stevens, 20, 2805 Lee Court, Conyers; Johnny Harvey, 18, 4919 Ozment Ridge Court, Lithonia; and Jerry Williams, 17, 1412 Steam Engine Way, Conyers, for incidents that occurred on Dec. 4.
Fire sprinklers from three dorms in the same jail pod went off within five minutes of each other, according to incident reports.
Inmates were evacuated to the recreation yard as alarms sounded for more than 20 minutes before being turned off.
Alarms could not be turned off with the sprinkler tanks running and sprinklers automatically run until tanks are empty, according to incident reports.
A responding RCSO deputy examined the damage, along with a representative from Turner Construction, the company that built the new jail expansion. It was determined the sprinklers would only go off in extreme heat or if physically damaged.
A broken hair brush was found near the remains of the broken sprinklers.
Inmates were returned to their cells after the alarm, but jail cells and dorms had to be cleaned out and mattresses replaced.
Later that evening, according to reports, Avery used a bag of water-logged personal mail to hit the new sprinkler in his cell, in an apparent attempt to set the alarm off again, but no incident occurred, according to the report.
Jail deputies then placed Avery in a booking cell with handcuffs and leg shackles.
Rockdale County Sheriff Jeff Wigington explained damages occurred in the new jail expansion, that opened a year ago, and he said his office will seek restitution to pay for repairs.
The length of time between when the incidents on Dec. 4 occurred and when the charges were made was because the investigation was to “try to figure out who’s to be charged with what and to make sure the evidence supports it,” Wigington said.
“We intend to investigate and formally (charge) anyone who does damage to the jail,” Wigington said.
Avery has been in jail since his arrest by the Conyers Police Department on Aug. 28 on charges of two counts of entering an auto, eight counts of financial transaction card fraud, financial transaction card theft, theft by taking, providing a false name, possession of tools for the commission of a crime and two counts of criminal trespass.
Stevens was in jail on charges of felony obstruction of officers and carrying a concealed weapon stemming from his Sept. 16 arrest by the Sheriff’s Office.
Harvey had been in the jail since May 3 and had been sentenced to three years in state prison for burglary.
Williams was arrested on April 28 and had been sentenced to two years in state prison on two counts of burglary.