7 inmates dead, 17 hurt in SC prison fight

Henrietta Strickland
April 18, 2018

Stirling has urged the Federal Communications Commission to allow the prison to block or jam cellphone signals to prevent inmates from using them.

He said the riot started Sunday night as a gang war over territory, money and illegal items such as cellphones.

Lee County Coroner Larry Logan said that he arrived to a chaotic scene of fights everywhere at Lee Correctional Institution.

A 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 prisoners.

Stirling said the response teams entered as fast as they could.

Stirling said officials planned to meet next month with the cellphone industry to talk about solutions, but "until that's done, the folks that are incarcerated are going to continue their criminal ways from behind bars".

"I just saw three dead on the sidewalk outside of my unit".

Quarrels about turf and contraband apparently led to the deaths of seven inmates at a SC prison, authorities say. He said the officers were assembled at the rural prison as quickly as possible and went in only when it was safe to do so. Reuters could not immediately confirm that the video was authentic and Stirling declined to do so.

"These are risky people. we can not expect them to give up their unsafe ways just because they're in prison", McMaster said.

"It's an incredibly bad day in SC", he told AP.

The correctional institution was opened in 1993 and it houses 1,500 offenders - all male who include some of the most violent offenders of the state.

In late March of this year, several inmates overpowered a correctional officer and held the officer hostage for nearly an hour and a half.

The inmate who spoke to AP said that many cell door locks were already broken before the riot and that he and other prisoners roamed around freely. "They just sat in the control bubble, called the issue in, then sat on their collective asses". The prison was secured around 2:55 a.m. Monday, the corrections department told CBS affiliate WLTX.

Another inmate was killed during a fight at the facility in February, with two officers stabbed during a fight that broke out in Lee Correctional in 2015.

But in the hours of ruckus, seven inmates - Raymond Angelo Scott, Michael Milledge, Damonte Marquez Rivera, Eddie Casey Jay Gaskins, Joshua Svwin Jenkins, Corey Scott and Cornelius Quantral McClary - were killed.

The Bishopville correctional institution has in fact seen the most number of deaths than any prison in SC in the recent years. The youngest was 24 years old; the oldest was 44.

This shows the Lee Correctional Institution on Monday, April 16, 2018, in Bishopville, S.C. Multiple inmates were killed and others seriously injured amid fighting between prisoners inside the maximum security prison in SC. Four prisoners were strangled at Kirkland Correctional by two inmates in April 2017.

An inmate inside watched in dismay as several fellow prisoners, two he knew well, lay dead and dying, their bodies leaving trails of blood leading back inside the prison walls.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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