Five prison guards were injured Sunday afternoon after an inmate opened fire, sparking a standoff that ended with the shooter’s death.
Two guards were listed in serious condition, two were moderately injured and a fifth was lightly injured.
The shooting occurred at Rimonim prison in the Sharon region north of Tel Aviv.
The gunman, named as Samuel Sheinbein by Israeli news outlets, holed himself up in the prison for several hours before being shot by police in a shootout after 5 p.m. Israel time. The suspect was killed in the shootout, according to media reports.
Security officials had negotiated with the gunman for over an hour before the suspect fired at counter-terrorism forces surrounding his position in a cell. The forces returned fire, critically injuring him, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.
Sheinbein was not holding any hostages.
Initial reports indicated Sheinbein had grabbed a guard’s gun. However, officials said that was incorrect and they were investigating where the gun came from and if the inmate somehow smuggled it into the prison.
Sheinbein, an Israeli-American in his 30s, is serving a life sentence for a murder carried out in the United States, Rosenfeld said.
Sheinbein was convicted in the murder of Alfredo Enrique Tello Jr. outside Washington, DC, in 1997. Sheinbein gained Israeli citizenship after fleeing to Israel in the wake of the murder and successfully argued to be tried in Israel, where he received a lighter sentence than he might have in the US.
His lawyer said she had called the prison earlier to warn them that Sheinbein was in mortal danger, Channel 2 news reported.
His extradition to Maryland was blocked after a yearlong battle between Israel and the United States over an Israeli law that prohibited it.
Sheinbein, of Aspen Hill, Maryland, confessed to strangling Tello with a rope and hitting him several times with a sharp object. Sheinbein then dismembered the body with an electric saw and burned it, authorities said. Another teenager charged in the killing, Aaron Needle, committed suicide while in jail in Maryland.
Sheinbein fled to Israel days after Tello’s remains were found in a garage. He successfully sought refuge under a law that prevented the extradition of Israeli citizens to foreign countries. Sheinbein had only passing contact with Israel, but his father, Saul, was born in the country and Sheinbein qualified for citizenship under Israel’s “Law of Return.”
Israel refused to extradite Sheinbein, prompting protests from senior officials, including then-Attorney General Janet Reno. Some congressmen who had otherwise been friendly to Israel threatened to cut aid in response.
Following that embarrassment, Israel changed its laws to allow the extradition of Israeli citizens on condition that they are returned to Israel to serve any sentence imposed.
The prison, which houses violent offenders, is part of a complex which also houses Hadarim and Hasharon jails.