Grand Jury Indicts Two Following Fight at Middleton Jail; Sheriff Says Violent Aggression Increasing

Essex County Sheriff Kevin F. Coppinger during an earlier visit to 97.9 WHAV.

Two inmates at the Middleton Jail and House of Correction were indicted by a grand jury last week on charges stemming from their roles in an Oct. 22 fight that injured two correctional officers.

Twenty-six-year-old Jorge Delgado-Medina of Melrose was charged with assault and battery and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, while 18-year-old Adrian Corniel De La Cruz of Lawrence was charged with two counts of armed assault with intent to murder, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and assault with a dangerous weapon.

“We will not tolerate attacks on our officers. We will prosecute and we will seek justice,” said Essex County Sheriff Kevin F. Coppinger. “This incident demonstrates the danger our officers face each and every day. For me, officer safety is the top priority.”

Two inmates and two officers sustained minor injuries during the incident. All were taken to local hospitals and treated, but none required hospitalization. Three shanks were immediately discovered near the scene and eight more weapons were recovered during a subsequent week-long search of the entire Middleton facility.

Coppinger said there has been an increase in inmate aggression as the numbers of those waiting to be tried on violent and gang-related crime continues to increase. As of Jan. 1, 40% of the county’s detainees were facing or being held on violent charges, including murder, attempted murder, rape and assault. The Essex County Sheriff’s Department is responsible for the custody of the largest prison population outside of Boston, with a daily average of more than 1,100 inmates.

Four others were previously charged in the incident. They are 24-year-old Julio Cruz of Lawrence, two counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and assault with a dangerous weapon; 22-year-old Johan Aquino of Lawrence, assault and battery; 19-year-old Luis Perlera of Lunenberg, assault and battery; and 21-year-old Lennox Pierre-Louis of Roxbury, charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.

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