Multiple fights at one of South Carolina’s most dangerous prisons left at least seven inmates dead and 17 others injured, a prison official said Monday.
Lee Correctional Institution was secured at around 2:55 a.m., nearly eight hours after multiple fights broke out in three housing units Sunday night, prison spokesman Jeff Taillon said. The incident started around 7:15 p.m., he said.
All prison staff and responding law enforcement officers were reported safe after the incident, the South Carolina Department of Corrections wrote. The department added that the State Law Enforcement Division was assisting prison officials in its investigation.
Emergency services from several South Carolina counties responded to the “mass casualty incident,” Lee County Fire wrote in a tweet. Several local media outlets reported the local coroner was called to the scene.
Lee Correctional – located in Bishopville, 55 miles east of Columbia – has been the site of several recent violent eruptions.
In March, inmates at the prison held an officer hostage after taking control of a dorm room, The State reported. The inmates held the officer for about 25 minutes before the room was secured by law enforcement.
In February, an inmate was killed by another inmate in a fight.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.