By Liz Shepherd
WARSAW — A Kosciusko County Jail inmate is being sued by the county commissioners’ insurance company for causing more than $30,000 in damages to the jail.
Selective Insurance Company of South Carolina, which insures the Kosciusko County Commissioners, is the plaintiff in this case against Gabriel Patino Jr., 36, of Warsaw, who is is currently incarcerated in KCJ. A civil tort was filed on June 13 in Kosciusko Superior Court Four.
On April 5, 2021, a surveillance video showed Patino going into a room in a jail block. A short time later, Patino exited the room while water sprayed from a sprinkler head. In the video, water can be seen flowing from a balcony onto the jail block’s main floor.
According to court documents, Patino is then seen on surveillance video entering one of the jail’s bathroom areas and breaking a sprinkler head. He later entered a hallway between two jail blocks and broke a third sprinkler head. The water from the sprinkler heads flooded the jail block. Patino also entered the block’s shower room and damaged a sprinkler head, which had to be replaced due to the damage.
On April 6, 2021, Patino was placed in a holding cell in the Kosciusko County Justice Building, which is adjacent to the Kosciusko Superior Court Four offices and across from the Superior Court Four courtroom. Patino was shown on video removing his jail uniform and swinging it toward a sprinkler head. After several attempts, Patino broke the sprinkler head, causing water to flood the cell. Water from the holding cell flooded the hallway and the Superior Court Four courtroom.
The water also flowed down to the county’s clerk’s office supply room and into the justice building’s basement, causing about $18,000 in damage. Also, as a result of the damage caused by Patino, the jail was without water for about 12 hours; this deprived the inmates and the employees of access to, and severely impaired, a public utility. This also caused a substantial impairment to the jail’s fire suppression system.
Patino was sentenced on a Level 6 felony criminal mischief charge in October 2021. He received a two-year sentence at the jail.
According to the civil tort, jail property was damaged and/or reduced in value in the amount of $31,258.49. The county commissioners’ insurance company is suing Patino for negligence and vandalism/theft.