By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer
A Clovis man awaiting trial for homicide was arrested Wednesday in connection with the stabbing of a fellow inmate at the county jail, according to court documents.
Demetrio Salas, 21, is accused of stabbing London Word multiple times during an altercation Tuesday afternoon at the Curry County Adult Detention Center, an arrest affidavit said.
Word, 20, told investigators Salas stabbed him in the shoulder with a homemade knife after Word broke up a fight between Salas and another inmate, the affidavit said.
Word suffered a collapsed lung in the stabbing and on Wednesday was listed in critical condition at a Lubbock hospital, according to a press release from the 9th Judicial District Attorney’s office and a court document.
Security footage in the jail showed Word going into a cell with Salas following behind him, according to the affidavit.
“Moments later (Word) ran out of the cell holding his left shoulder area and Salas came out after him,” the document said.
District Attorney Matt Chandler said he could not comment on what the motive might have been for the stabbing.
In a search conducted about six hours after the incident, officers located several “suspected blood droppings on the floor” and a white towel with blood spots in a cell connected to Salas, records show.
According to the affidavit, the incident occurred around 4 p.m. Tuesday and investigators learned about it around 10 p.m. Tuesday.
Jail Administrator Leslie Johnson said her staff discovered Word was injured but was unable to determine what had caused his injuries. He was immediately transported to the hospital while inmates were locked in their cells and jail staff conducted searches and interviews of inmates.
Inmates did not provide information and nothing was found in the searches, she said. “We didn’t know what happened to him,” she said.
When hospital personnel determined Word needed to be transported to Lubbock, a district judge was notified because permission was needed to send Word out of state. The judge notified law enforcement, who discovered through interviews Word had suffered a stab wound, she said.
The incident led authorities from the sheriff’s department and district attorney’s office to seize control of the jail for approximately four hours while they investigated. Control was returned to Johnson around 2:30 a.m. Wednesday, the district attorney’s office said.
Salas is in the detention center awaiting trial on charges of first-degree murder for the September 2005 shooting death of 9-year-old Carlos Perez.