Sheriff IDs Storey Inmate Found Dead in Cell

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STOREY COUNTY, NV -- A Storey County Jail inmate was found dead in his cell in an apparent suicide early Wednesday morning, according to Sheriff Gerald Antinoro.

64-year-old John Ray Pruitt of Fresno County, California was arrested by the Storey County Sheriff's Office Tuesday afternoon and booked into the jail around 4:30 p.m. on suspicion of driving under the influence.

Shortly after midnight Wednesday morning, a county correctional officer found the inmate, who appeared to have hanged himself in his cell, during an inmate welfare check. A previous check had been made approximately 16 minutes earlier, according to Sheriff Antinoro, who says the inmate had displayed no indicators of self-harm and had been conversing normally with officers until lights out at about 10:00 PM.

"It appears that the members of the Storey County Sheriff's Office acted in accordance with established policies in this instance," according to Sheriff Antinoro. Antinoro said his jail has strict policies to screen and monitor inmates for suicidal behavior and place them on suicide watch if necessary; in this case there were none. Antinoro says, "Even with strict policies and regular observation by officers, it is difficult to stop people who may intend on harming themselves."

The Storey County Sheriff's Office is handling the internal investigation of the apparent suicide with the Washoe County Sheriff's Office being called in by the sheriff to conduct an independent investigation. An autopsy will be conducted by the Washoe County Medical Examiner.