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. After a four day standoff with inmates holding 42 hostages, NY state police moved in to retake the prison on orders of governor Nelson Rockefeller.
All seven deaths were the result of stabbing injuries, said Lee County Coroner Larry Logan.
The South Carolina Department of Corrections tweeted that the deaths happened in multiple inmate-on-inmate fights in three housing units.
The State adds that one inmate died in fights there in both 2017 and 2016 and that five inmates were injured in a separate fight in 2016. "We can't expect them to give up their violent ways when they go to prison".
All prison staff and law enforcement officers were safe and accounted for, officials said on Twitter. It began at around 7:15 p.m. Sunday.
The state Department of Corrections also identified the inmates as Raymond Angelo Scott, Michael Milledge, Damonte Marquez Rivera, Eddie Casey Jay Gaskins, Joshua Svwin Jenkins, Corey Scott, and Cornelius Quantral McClary.
Authorities responded to an "ongoing incident" at Lee Correctional Facility in Bishopville, S.C.
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The inmate told AP that he knew at least two of the slain men well. They youngest was 28 years old while the oldest was 44.
The Lee Correctional Institution has been the scene of several violent incidents in recent years.
A coroner says it appears numerous seven inmates who were killed during hours of rioting at a maximum security SC prison died of stabbing and slashing wounds.
"If everybody has an uprising, you are always going to be understaffed", Logan said.
Few details were offered about what had actually happened inside the facility, which is maximum security and houses around 1,600 inmates, according to Department of Corrections records. In 2015, a riot was sparked when correctional officers attempted to remove a homemade weapon from a inmates cell.
Gov. Henry McMaster said these types of incidents are avoided, or kept to a minimum, by rules and regulations, protocol and training.