SC prison riot leaves seven inmates dead

'Ongoing incident' reported at dangerous South Carolina prison

It took until 3 a.m. for authorities to restore order to the facility as the fights raged out of control for hours.

He said a response team entered the first dormitory at 11:30 pm, the second one at 12:30 am and the third one at 2:00 am.

"We gathered as many people as we could, as quickly as we could and went in as soon as we thought it was safe for our staff", he said.

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.

Seven inmates were killed and 17 others injured in a riot at a maximum security prison in SC, one of the deadliest in decades in the United States, authorities said Monday.

After the incident was brought under control, the officer was evaluated by medical personnel and released.

The seven inmates were killed, and at least 17 prisoners wounded, in a riot at the Lee Correctional Institution.

The 25-year-old prison houses around 1,500 male inmates, who are among South Carolina's most violent criminals.

The fighting was described as "multiple inmate-on-inmate altercations".

South Carolina's governor is expressing support for his state prisons chief following the riots.

"What we believe from initial investigation is that this was all about territory, about contraband, about cellphones", said Bryan Stirling, the state's director of corrections.

Stirling was appointed by then-Gov.

Representative Todd Rutherford, the leader of the Democratic minority in the state House of Representatives, condemned the violence. When McMaster took over as governor past year, he kept Stirling, who had previously worked for him in the state Attorney General's Office.

In a meeting next month, the department plans to discuss solutions with the Federal Communications Commission.

One source told the Associated Press bodies were "stacked on top of each other" and that prison staff didn't help the injured while the chaos was underway. Governor Henry McMaster on Monday said he would renew his request to federal officials to allow him to block cell signals on prison property.

At Lee Correctional, an inmate held a guard hostage for 90 minutes in March and another killed a fellow prisoner in February. "It's not a surprise when wer have violent events take place inside the prison, any prison in the country", McMaster said.

Sputnik News received photographs appearing to show the corpses of inmates at Lee Corrections Institute, but has opted not to publish them due to their highly graphic nature.

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