A Lee Correctional Institution guard was freed from a hostage situation at the maximum security prison Thursday after inmates called authorities on illegal cell phones to guide them to his location.
We breached the building at 9:34 and were able to get to the hostage at 9:45, Department of Corrections spokesman Clark Newsom said. He did have some injuries, perhaps lacerations and abrasions.
Newsom said the guard, whose identity has not been disclosed, was able to walk out of the Bishopville prison on his own, but was taken by helicopter to a local hospital as a precaution.
The event, which Newsom described as a situation of opportunity began around 5 p.m. in the Chesterfield dorm. About 120 inmates are in the dorm, and only one or two guards might be on duty at that time on a typical evening.
An inmate or inmates, possibly using homemade knives, attacked the guard in a general population area and stowed him in a broom closet, Newsom said.
It was a very disorganized effort, he said. We dont think it was planned. It will take a while to sort out all the characters.
One or more inmates in the wing who had illegal cell phones called the prisons phone number and told authorities where the guard was being kept, Newsom said.
It turned out, where they said he was, he was, he said. These folks wanted to end it. Once they saw the heavy artillery coming in, usually they give up pretty easily.
There was no opposition to the law enforcement personnel sent into the prison to find the hostage, he said. No inmates sustained injuries, he said.
The rest of the maximum-security prisons 1,800 inmates were placed on lockdown -- and remained on lockdown late Thursday night. State Law Enforcement Division agents, corrections department officers and Lee County sheriffs deputies were at the scene throughout the incident.
The prisons units now will be checked from top to bottom, cell to cell in search of contraband, Newsom said.
A guard also was taken hostage at the prison on June 5. That standoff lasted several hours. The guard was not injured in that incident.