Juvenile center riot probed

PARKERSBURG – A riot at the Lorrie Yeager Jr. Juvenile Center at 907 Mission Drive in Parkersburg Tuesday evening caused an extensive amount of damage, an official said.

Around 7 p.m. Tuesday, officers with the Parkersburg Police Department were summoned to the Lorrie Yeager Jr. Juvenile Center to assist the West Virginia Division of Juvenile Services with what was described as a riot in progress, said Parkersburg Police Chief Joseph Martin.

Officers with the West Virginia Division of Juvenile Services refused to comment on the event Wednesday.

Six officers from the Parkersburg Police Department responded to the call for assistance, Martin said. Martin left the Parkersburg City Council budget meeting to respond to the scene, he said.

The six rioting juveniles were contained to the commons area within the Lorrie Yeager Jr. Juvenile Center, Martin said.

“There was no imminent threat to the public around the facility,” Martin said. “The youths were contained the whole time,” he said.

The juveniles destroyed the interior of the commons area during what is being described as a riot.

When the Parkersburg Police arrived to offer assistance, the six juveniles were described as “tearing up the facility,” Martin said.

The youths disassembled the tables in the commons area inside the complex and used the metal supports of those tables as weapons to cause additional destruction, Martin said.

Throughout the riot, windows in the facility were shattered, the heating and cooling system ductwork in the area was destroyed, and sprinkler heads were broken away from their piping, Martin said.

“The destruction was definitely up there on the scale,” Martin said.

Officers of the West Virginia Division of Juvenile Services worked for nearly two hours to regain control of the situation, Martin said.

The Wood County Prosecutor’s Office is involved in the investigation of this situation, said Wood County Prosecutor Jason Wharton.

The West Virginia State Police are investigating the riot but were unavailable for comment.

According to a statement released Wednesday by the Wood County Prosecutor’s Office, “As this investigation progresses we will evaluate the information available to us and file the appropriate charges in the Wood County Circuit Court.”

Additional details about the incident, including possible injuries or damage estimates, were unavailable Wednesday evening.