A spokesman for the state's prisons says seven inmates were killed and at least 17 others were seriously injured as inmates fought uninterrupted for more than seven hours. They entered the final dorm around 2 a.m. Stirling said it took several hours to restore order, but once a special SWAT team entered, the inmates gave up peacefully. The Lee County Fire and Rescue said that they assisted police with the incident, while emergency medical services from four counties also reportedly responded.
"I just saw three dead on the sidewalk outside of my unit". Of late, inmates at this facility resorted to violence multiple times.
"The COs [corrections officers] never even attempted to render aid, nor quell the disturbance", he said.
Last year, 12 inmates were killed in SC prisons.
The state has about 5000 prison employees in 22 institutions, but "security staff numbers continue to lag behind the authorised strength", the department's fiscal 2017 Accountability Report said, without giving numbers. It began at around 7:15 p.m. Sunday. Prison reporter Jared Ware summarized the reported gripes of inmates and their families, saying that corrections officers in Lee County have put metal over windows to deny inmates lighting, "underfed imprisoned folks, they've used state militias to look for cell phones, they've sent hooded guards in to beat people in cells, they've denied drinking water". They youngest was 28 years old while the oldest was 44.
This riot is one of several violent instances that has taken place at Lee County Correctional Facility in recent years.
The coroner said when he arrived it was a chaotic scene of fighting everywhere.
Martin said staff shortages could have been a contributing factor in the riot.
The 25-year-old prison houses around 1,500 male inmates, who are among South Carolina's most violent criminals.
Stirling said the fight appeared to be contained before starting in two other dorms.
The South Carolina Department of Corrections identified the prisoners who died in the riot on Facebook as "Raymond Angelo Scott, Michael Milledge, Damonte Marquez Rivera, Eddie Casey Jay Gaskins, Joshua Svwin Jenkins, Corey Scott, Cornelius Quantral McClary".
Gov. Henry McMaster said these types of incidents are avoided, or kept to a minimum, by rules and regulations, protocol and training.