Dramatic footage shows deadly prison shootout

Israeli-American Samuel Sheinbein smuggled a gun into Rimonim penitentiary and opened fire on guards before he was killed

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Samuel Sheinbein at Tel Aviv court in 1999.  (photo credit: AP/Eyal Warshavsky)
Samuel Sheinbein at Tel Aviv court in 1999. (photo credit: AP/Eyal Warshavsky)

Dramatic footage of a shootout a year ago between an inmate and guards at the Rimonim Prison in central Israel was published by Channel 2 on Monday night, showing the panic as staff initially fled from the gunman before a special unit finally killed the shooter in a hail of bullets.

Israeli-American Samuel Sheinbein, who was serving a life sentence for a murder he committed in the US in 1997, had smuggled a gun into the prison, which he turned on officers.

According to the report, Sheinbein had been arrested just a few months before the February 2014 shooting after he tried to buy a gun using a fake ID while he was out on furlough.

In the security camera video Sheinbein could be seen being escorted by a guard from his cell after prison authorities decided to move him to another wing. He then could be seen dashing up some stairs to the prison’s staff level, where he locked himself in a bathroom.

As guards first try to kick the door down and then attempt to force it open with a metal pole, Sheinbein fires three shots through the door.

Panicked guards and staff then scramble to get away as Sheinbein emerges from the bathroom. One guard then reportedly grabbed a rifle from the prisoner weapons store and began firing on Sheinbein, who remained behind a gate blocking the entrance to the corridor.

Authorities alerted the Metzada Unit, an elite group within the prisons service that deals with disturbances, and a heavily armed detail arrives at the scene, bringing an attack dog with them.

In a brief, intense shootout, three Metzada officers then confront Sheinbein, who collapses after he is shot. More armed officers can then be seen swarming into the corridor, where Sheinbein, sprawled on the floor, soon dies of his wounds.

Five guards were injured in the incident, one of them critically.

An investigation committee was unable to discover exactly how Sheinbein had smuggled the gun into the prison, but theorized that he had attached the weapon to the underside of a senior staff member’s car while he was out on furlough and then collected the gun inside the prison when he was sent to clean her car.

A search of the prisoner’s cell revealed a cache in which he had apparently hidden the gun for a year and a half. In a shaft next to his toilet officers found a bucket equipped with a false bottom that contained plastic wrist restraints, a set of keys to various other cells and wings in the prison, as well as a cellphone and charger.

Last week, Prisons Service head Aharon Franco removed the commander of the Rimonim Prison and his deputy from their posts, along with two others at the facility. A further 16 senior figures in the service were disciplined over the incident. In the wake of the shooting the Prison Service implemented wide-scale changes in its security procedures.

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