7 in­mates killed in fight over ter­ri­tory

The Maui News - - NATION -

COLUMBIA, S.C. — In­mates armed with home­made knives fought each other for about seven hours over ter­ri­tory and money, leav­ing seven of them dead in the worst U.S. prison riot in a quar­ter-cen­tury, of­fi­cials said Mon­day. An in­mate who wit­nessed the vi­o­lence told The As­so­ci­ated Press that bodies were “lit­er­ally stacked on top of each other.”

At least 17 pris­on­ers were se­ri­ously in­jured at Lee Cor­rec­tional In­sti­tu­tion, South Carolina pris­ons chief Bryan Stir­ling said. The first fight started in a dorm about 7:15 p.m. Sun­day and ap­peared to be con­tained be­fore sud­denly start­ing in two other dorms. 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.

“These folks are fight­ing over real money and real ter­ri­tory while they’re in­car­cer­ated,” Stir­ling said at a news con­fer­ence.

No prison guards were hurt. Stir­ling said they fol­lowed pro­to­col by back­ing out and ask­ing for sup­port. It took sev­eral hours to re­store or­der, but once a spe­cial SWAT team en­tered, the in­mates gave up peace­fully, he said.

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

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