This image shows the Lee Correctional Institution on Monday, April 16, 2018, in Bishopville, S.C. (AP Photo/Sean Rayford)
COLUMBIA: Inmates armed with homemade knives fought each other for more than seven hours inside a maximum-security prison, leaving seven of them dead, officials said. An inmate who witnessed the riot told The Associated Press that bodies were “literally stacked on top of each other.”
At least 17 prisoners were seriously injured as inmates fought uninterrupted before authorities regained control of Lee Correctional Institution about 3 a.m. Monday, South Carolina prisons spokesman Jeff Taillon said.
Officials didn’t immediately say what sparked the violence at the prison that houses some of the state’s worst and longest-serving offenders. No prison guards were hurt.
The prisoner who saw the riot exchanged messages with AP on the condition of anonymity because he is not allowed to have a cellphone and fears retribution from other inmates.
He also didn’t say what started the riot but said most of the inmates are affiliated with gangs and he saw several attackers taunt a rival gang member who was badly injured.
“I just saw three dead on the sidewalk outside of my unit. One guy is still alive and breathing, but just barely,” the inmate said.