A police vehicle sits outside the Lee Correctional Institution on Monday, April 16, 2018, in Bishopville, S.C. Multiple inmates were killed and others seriously injured amid fighting between prisoners inside the maximum security prison in SC.
Inmates armed with homemade knives fought each other for about seven hours over territory and money, leaving seven of them dead in the worst USA prison riot in a quarter-century, officials said Monday.
Prisoners armed with homemade knives rioted for more than seven hours over gang territory and money inside a maximum-security facility in Bishopville, S.C, leaving seven inmates dead in the worst USA prison riot in more than two decades.
Local news station KWTX interviewed an inmate who reported that bodies of those who perished in the riot stacked on each other during the fighting and that officers in the prison during the unrest did not try to do anything to stop the fight.
One prisoner who saw the riot exchanged messages with the AP on the condition of anonymity because he is not allowed to have a cellphone and fears retribution from other inmates.
The prison has also been plagued by violence in recent years, but the seven fatalities in an incident at the institution marks the most deadly incidents at a SC prison since the uptick.
The Department of Corrections and South Carolina Law Enforcement Division are investigating.
He said he saw several attackers taunt a rival gang member who was badly injured.
In February, inmate Robert Odell Brown was killed by another inmate at Lee Correctional Institution.
With 12 officers reportedly on duty at the time of the incident, Stirling says they were waiting to safely enter the prison with a large enough force.
Lee County Coroner Larry Logan said that he arrived to a chaotic scene of fights everywhere at Lee Correctional Institution. "They just sat in the control bubble, called the issue in, then sat on their collective asses".
"The levels of brutality are very high among pretty much all of the players within the prison system", Wright said. Officials say the institution was secured at 2:55 a.m. Monday morning. Cellphones helped stir up the trouble, and state officials urged the federal government to change a law and allow them to block the signals from prisoners' phones.
Incarcerated in April 2010 and sentenced to 66 years for charges of assault and battery, illegal drug possession, possession of narcotics trafficking in crack cocaine and additional firearm charges.
"We ... went in as soon as we thought it was safe for our staff", he said.
WSPA reports that an inmate from Spartanburg, Robert Odell Brown, was killed in an altercation with another inmate two months ago.
But as Gov. Henry McMaster said Monday, the fights were not necessarily a shock to anyone.
The prison in Bishopville, South Carolina, about 95km northeast of Columbia, houses about 1600 male inmates. "It's not a surprise when wer have violent events take place inside the prison, any prison in the country", McMaster said.
Two officers were stabbed in a 2015 fight, and five were injured in a December 2007 attack by three inmates.