A witness in a homicide case was assaulted and injured Wednesday by the suspect in the same case after the two were mistakenly placed in the same pod of cells at the Curry County Adult Detention Center, Administrator Gerry Billy confirmed Thursday.
Officials said Jaime Perez was taken to Plains Regional Medical Center for treatment and later returned to the jail after an altercation with Louis Guerra.
Guerra is accused in the 2011 shooting death of Daniel Perez in Clovis.
Undersheriff Wesley Waller wrote in an email that Jaime Perez, Daniel Perez's brother, had been housed out of county, but was in Clovis on Wednesday for a court hearing. About 4:45 p.m., Jaime Perez was taken to CCADC, and eventually was placed in the same pod as Guerra, Waller wrote.
"At approximately 8 p.m., a physical altercation between Guerra and (Jaime) Perez ensued," Waller wrote. "Approximately 20 minutes later, a detention officer found Perez with multiple contusions and abrasions."
Perez was returned to the jail after receiving treatment at the hospital, Waller wrote.
Waller said the sheriff's office was not notified of the incident until 11:50 a.m. on Thursday, more than 15 hours after it occurred.
Billy declined to provide any additional information until the sheriff's investigation is complete.
County commissioners supervise Billy.
Commissioner Robert Sandoval said he received an email from Commission Chairman Wendell Bostwick on Thursday morning that said there was an incident at the jail. Sandoval said he did not know about the delay in reporting the incident to the sheriff's office until informed by CNJ.
"The sheriff should have been notified immediately," Sandoval said.
Bostwick said it wasn't clear whether or not jail staff knew the victim was a witness in the same case as the suspect accused of homicide. He said the investigation will determine how the attack happened and, if jail staff made an error, "we will do what we have to" to make sure it doesn't happen again.
"If you don't know, you don't know," Bostwick said.
"Sometimes you don't know how these guys are connected. And you know, sometimes these guys don't always tell you the truth."
It wasn't immediately clear why Jaime Perez was in jail, but online court records show he was arraigned on June 18 on charges of driving with a suspended or revoked license.