WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- Fights about money and territory led to the killing of seven inmates at a South Carolina prison, according to the authorities.
- Another 17 inmates were injured during the hours of commotion but no police were reported injured.
- The ruckus lasted more than seven hours at Lee Correctional Institution in Lee County, S.C. Department of Corrections stated Monday morning.
Inmates at Lee Correctional Institution fought each other for about seven hours over turf and money in the deadliest U.S. prison riot in more than two decades.
The first rumpus began in a dorm with about 250 inmates around 7:15 p.m. on Sunday. When authorities thought the fight was contained, commotion suddenly started in two other dorms.
Response teams from at least six emergency agencies showed up at the facility.
“These folks are fighting over real money and real territory while they’re incarcerated,” SC Department of Corrections Director Brian Stirling said. “What we believe from initial investigation is that this was all about territory, about contraband, about cell phones.”
The police identified the inmates who were killed as: Eddie Casey Jay Gaskins, Cornelius Quantral McClary, Michael Milledge, Raymond Angelo Scott, Damonte Marquez Rivera, Corey Scott and Joshua Svwin Jenkins.
Autopsies have not been concluded but it seems that most of the fatalities suffered from stab or slash wounds, Lee County Coroner Larry Logan said. Inmates were armed with homemade knives or “shanks.”
An inmate, who requested anonymity, told The Associated Press that bodies at the facility were “literally stacked on top of each other.”
The inmate also claimed that no prison officers or medical personnel attended to the dead or injured, hours after the fight broke out.
According to the Department of Corrections, the correctional was secure just before 3 a.m.
“We are also continuing to work with Department of Corrections on the investigation into what began this incident and the subsequent fights that broke out,” SLED spokesman Thom Berry said.
Lee Correctional Institution, with a capacity of about 1,650 inmates, is a maximum-security prison for male criminals. Four violent and deadly incidents happened here in the past year.
Three weeks earlier, inmates held a police officer hostage and took control of part of a housing. In February, an inmate was killed by a fellow inmate. In 2017, two violent incidents were reported including a fight between two inmates that led to the stabbing death of a prisoner in November. And in July 2017, an inmate was killed during a fight at the Bishopville prison.
In 2016, two violent incidents were reported including a fight in January where five inmates were injured and another in June that left one inmate dead.
Source: The State