At least seven inmates are dead following a major incident at a prison in South Carolina.
The South Carolina Department of Corrections said they secured the Lee Correctional Institution in Bishopville just before 3 a.m. following an incident involving “multiple inmate on inmate altercations” across three housing units.
Authorities confirmed that the fighting has left at least seven dead, with a further 17 requiring medical treatment. The riot began around 7:15 p.m on Sunday (April 15).
The South Carolina Department of Corrections (SCDC) said all staff and law enforcement officers who were called to the maximum security prison are now safe and accounted for. The Lee County Fire department also said they assisted with a “mass casualty incident” at the prison.
In a statement, SCDC Police Services and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division said they will be investigating the incident.
No further details, including the names of the inmates killed in the mass brawl or the extent of the other’s injuries, have been released yet.
A local coroner was also called to the scene, according to reports.
The facility, which opened in 1993, houses around 1,500 prisoners, including some of the state’s most violent criminals, reports the Associated Press.
In March, inmates held a prison officer hostage for around one hour and 25 minutes while they took control of part of their dormitory.
According to the State, the officer was “overpowered” by the prisoners during the incident. After the dorm was brought back under control by law enforcement, the officer was seen by medical staff at the institution and released.
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.