Colorado prison on lockdown after 1 staffer killed, another seriously injured

A female kitchen employee was killed and another seriously injured Monday in a disturbance involving an inmate while breakfast was being prepared at a state prison in southeast Colorado, a spokeswoman said.

State investigators were called to Crowley, about 45 miles southeast of Pueblo, to try to determine what happened. Meals were being delivered from other facilities after the kitchen was shut down.

The Arkansas Valley Correctional Facility houses about 1,000 male prisoners and was put on lockdown.

In 1989, the facility gained international notoriety when a helicopter swooped into the yard and spirited two inmates to freedom. Prison officials said they could not fire on the aircraft because they couldn't get a clear shot.

The prisoners were recaptured after they switched to a rental van and got into a gun battle with authorities in Nebraska.

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Over the past decade, there have been a number of disputes in Colorado over prison security following several high-profile riots and disturbances.

In 2004, at the privately owned Crowley County Correctional Facility nearby, discontent among workers and prisoners led to violence and destruction by about 300 inmates. Prisoners ransacked two cell houses and prison offices and set dozens of fires. Several inmates were injured, including two seriously.

In Limon, in northeast Colorado, a prisoner was arrested after prison worker Eric Autobee was beaten to death in 2002 by a convicted child killer wielding a ladle. State corrections officers blamed staffing cuts because of state spending limits that forced the state to send more inmates to private prisons.