Crime & Courts

Deadly SC prison riot injured 22 inmates, not 17, agency says

Watch inmates pace the prison floor with shanks during deadly SC riot

Cellphone video captures inmates holding shanks on a blood-covered prison floor during the violent riot that left seven inmates dead inside Lee Correctional Institution in Bishopville, SC on Monday, April 16.
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Cellphone video captures inmates holding shanks on a blood-covered prison floor during the violent riot that left seven inmates dead inside Lee Correctional Institution in Bishopville, SC on Monday, April 16.

Six of the inmates who were injured during a riot at a South Carolina maximum-security prison that killed seven others are still in the hospital, the S.C. Department of Corrections said Tuesday.

The department initially reported that 17 inmates were injured during the nearly eight-hour-long incident at Lee Correctional Institution on Sunday night. However, corrections spokesman Jeff Taillon said Tuesday that 22 inmates were transported to outside hospitals for treatment.

Of those, 13 were treated and released back to the Department of Corrections, Taillon said. Nine inmates had to be admitted to hospitals, and six of those remain hospitalized.

The discrepancy in the numbers came from three inmates who were taken off-site for treatment of minor injuries after the initial reporting and later released back to corrections officials, and two inmates who were taken off-site for treatment and admitted but not included in the original count, Taillon said.

Officials say homemade "shanks" were used in the fight, and most of the inmates who were killed had stabbing or slashing wounds, the Lee County Coroner's Office has said. Lee County EMS said injured inmates were taken to hospitals in Florence, Sumter, Hartsville and Columbia.

The State Law Enforcement Division is investigating the deadly brawl along with the Department of Corrections. SLED spokesman Thom Berry said Tuesday that no charges have been filed.

All medium- and maximum-security facilities in S.C. remained on lockdown Tuesday because of the Lee incident, Taillon said. That includes 15 prisons that currently house more than 20,000 inmates.

The ordeal began in a housing unit around 7:15 p.m. Sunday, officials said. At about 8:30 p.m., fights broke out in two more dorms.

Prison officers had to retake the housing units one at a time, Corrections Director Bryan Stirling has said. The prison was secure by 3 a.m. Sunday.

Stirling has said the deadly fights were about money, turf and cellphones.

Seven inmates were killed during fights that lasted more than seven hours at Lee Correctional Institute in Bishopville, SC.

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