Riot leaves 7 dead, 17 se­ri­ously wounded

Kingston Whig-Standard - - WORLD NEWS - MEG KINNARD

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Pris­on­ers armed with home­made knives ri­oted for more than seven hours in­side a max­i­mum-se­cu­rity fa­cil­ity, leav­ing seven in­mates dead, and bodies were “lit­er­ally stacked on top of each other,” an in­mate said on Mon­day.

At least 17 pris­on­ers were se­ri­ously in­jured as in­mates fought un­in­ter­rupted be­fore au­thor­i­ties re­gained con­trol of Lee Cor­rec­tional In­sti­tu­tion about 3 a.m. Mon­day, South Carolina pris­ons spokesman Jeff Tail­lon said.

Of­fi­cials didn’t im­me­di­ately say what sparked the vi­o­lence at the prison, which houses some of the state’s worst and long­est-serv­ing of­fend­ers. No prison guards were hurt.

The prisoner who saw the riot ex­changed mes­sages with the As­so­ci­ated Press on the con­di­tion of anonymity be­cause he is not al­lowed to have a cell­phone and fears ret­ri­bu­tion from other in­mates.

He also didn’t say what started the riot but said most of the in­mates at the prison are af­fil­i­ated with gangs and he saw sev­eral at­tack­ers taunt a ri­val gang mem­ber who was badly in­jured.

“I just saw three dead on the side­walk out­side of my unit. One guy is still alive and breath­ing, but just barely,” the in­mate said.

The in­mate said that many cell door locks were al­ready bro­ken be­fore the riot and that he and other pris­on­ers roamed around freely. Hours af­ter the vi­o­lence started, no cor­rec­tional of­fi­cers or med­i­cal per­son­nel at­tended to the dead or dy­ing, he said.

“It’s been over two hours, but no COs (cor­rec­tions of­fi­cers) have re­sponded to this unit, and no med­i­cal per­son­nel have at­tempted to ren­der any kind of aid,” he wrote. “The COs never even at­tempted to ren­der aid, nor quell the dis­tur­bance. They just sat in the con­trol bub­ble, called the is­sue in, then sat on their col­lec­tive asses.”

Most of the slain in­mates were stabbed with home­made knives or slashed, while the re­main­der ap­peared to have been beaten, Lee County Coroner Larry Lo­gan said.

The coroner said when he ar­rived it was a chaotic scene of fight­ing ev­ery­where.

The max­i­mum-se­cu­rity fa­cil­ity in Bish­opville houses about 1,500 in­mates.

LO­GAN CYRUS/GETTY IMAGES

An overnight riot at the Lee Cor­rec­tional In­sti­tu­tion, in Bish­opville, S.C., left seven in­mates dead and 17 oth­ers wounded.

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