Lee County, SC (WLTX) - News19 has new updates regarding the hostage situation at Lee Correctional Tuesday night.
The Lee County Correctional Institution remains on lockdown Thursday night as SLED takes over the investigation into how and why a guard was taken hostage by inmates there late Tuesday.
According to 911 phone calls, it's clear that some inmates called 911 from personal cell phones inside the prison Tuesday. Cell phones are illegal inside maximum security prisons and considered contraband. SLED is trying to determine if the inmates used cell phones to plan the attack.
"There was a lot of tear gas obviously because the unit had been gassed pretty significantly."
SLED Director Mark Keel says his investigation has showed that cell phones were used Tuesday night. He was inside the prison as he says 100 officers, including the Dept. of Corrections rapid response team, breached Lee Correctional.
"We all entered the wing at the same time and began putting inmates back in their cells one by one," said Keel.
Due to an agreement with the Department of Corrections, Keel says his office is now investigating any criminal activity that occurred while once officer was taken hostage.
"It's the person who initiated the incident with the standpoint from the officer. Anyone who may have assaulted him during the course of the hostage taking," said Keel.
SLED says they are also investigating the fact that a number of inmates used cell phones to call 911 and the news media from cell phones. A problem Sheriff Daniel Simon says has been an major issue in Lee County.
"My main objective is to not get it in there because of what happened the other night. I've been saying it for the longest time, if I can safeguard somebody's life, that's our main objective," said Simon.
Simon says they've arrested nearly forty five people in the past year throwing contraband over the prison walls. An offense he believes could have played a part in Tuesday's hostage taking.
"It is very serious. It's just one corrections officer, but it could have been several more," said Simon.
News 19 has learned that there are 109 inmates housed in that unit. SLED's director Mark Keel says the investigation should a few weeks to determine the specific inmates involved. We were told nearly thirty six hundred cell phones have been confiscated this year.