The death toll from two days of rioting in a Mexican prison rose to at least six Friday after a police commando raid failed to free about 14 hostages, a state government spokesman said.

At least three people died Friday evening when two police commando squads entered the Venustiano Carranza penitentiary to rescue prison employees held hostage by inmates angered because they had been denied Christmas pardons, Nayarit state spokesman Francisco Flores.Among those killed in the Friday night raid was the head of the "Zorro" commando team, Flores said in a telephone interview. Those killed Thursday in the initial shootout was a prison guard and the 31-year-old warden, who bled to death from a leg wound, Flores said.

As dusk fell Friday, Mexico City's Zorro and Escorpion commando teams sprayed tear gas and rushed the prison. "This provoked a very violent confrontation," Flores said.

Tepic, the capital of Nayarit state, is about 500 miles northwest of Mexico City.

About six inmates have been holding 12 to 14 prison employees hostage since Thursday afternoon.

Inmates, including some jailed on drug charges, attacked the prison's administrative offices Thursday after being denied Christmas pardons for good behavior, authorities said.