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Southern Nevada inmate dies after ‘incident’ at detention center

Updated July 13, 2019 - 9:53 pm

A section of a Pahrump private detention center was placed on lockdown Friday following an inmate’s death after an “incident that occurred in a secured cell,” according to a facility spokeswoman.

The male inmate was found unconscious in his cell at the Nevada Southern Detention Center, about 70 miles west of Las Vegas at 2190 E. Mesquite Ave., according to Kayla Gieni, a spokeswoman for CoreCivic, which has operated the detention center since 2010. He was found after an “incident” in a secured cell, Gieni said in an emailed statement Saturday afternoon.

Gieni declined to identify the inmate or release further details about his death or the lockdown, due to the open investigation.

The inmate was found about 4:05 a.m. Friday during security inspections, she said. detention center staff began “life-saving measures,” and emergency personnel were called.

He was taken to an “outside hospital,” where the inmate was pronounced dead about 4:50 a.m., Gieni said.

The detention center notified the U.S. Marshals Service and the Nye County Sheriff’s Office. The Sheriff’s Office is conducting an investigation into the man’s death, Gieni said.

At least one unit of the detention center was placed on lockdown Friday “until the completion of the investigation,” she said. It was unclear if that unit remained on lockdown Saturday afternoon.

According to CoreCivic’s website, the detention center is used by the Marshals Service and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. An ICE spokeswoman on Saturday said the inmate who died was not in ICE custody.

The Nye County Sheriff’s Office did not respond to questions on Saturday regarding the investigation.

In an interview with the Review-Journal on Saturday morning, Shawn Tocci said his 28-year-old brother, Frank Tocci, was the inmate who died. Shawn Tocci said officials told his mother about Frank Tocci’s death on Friday, but he was still unsure what happened.

“All I was told, he was found unresponsive and taken to the hospital,” Shawn Tocci said. “I’ve contacted the detention center and I just keep getting message machines. I tried to contact (CoreCivic) and same thing, nothing but messages.”

Efforts to contact Shawn Tocci were unsuccessful Saturday afternoon after the Review-Journal received confirmation about the death at the detention center.

According to the Nevada Department of Corrections’ website, a 28-year-old Frank Tocci is listed as an inmate in “out of state confinement.” He has active sentences for burglary, attempted coercion and assault with a deadly weapon, and his sentence was set to end on Aug. 3, 2020.

The department did not respond to questions regarding the inmate death on Saturday.

Shawn Tocci said his brother was in detention center in connection with robbery, burglary and drug charges, and had been in the private facility for about a year.

“We’re just trying to get some answers,” he said Saturday morning.

A previous version of this story incorrectly characterized the facility. It is a detention center.

Contact Katelyn Newberg at knewberg@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0240. Follow @k_newberg on Twitter. Review-Journal staff writers Rory Appleton and Sabrina Schnur contributed to this report.

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