Bishopville, SC (WLTX) - Inmates were herded back into their cells and correctional officers were left to sort through the chaos at Lee County Correctional Institution early Monday morning.
Seven men were killed and 17 more were injured during a riot that began Sunday evening. Lee County Coroner Larry Logan said he arrived to a chaotic scene of fighting all over the prison. Logan said that the majority of the victims were stabbed to death, while others appeared to have been beaten.
"How else are you going to die in prison? They don't have guns," Logan said
Sunday's deadly riot is just one of several violent episodes at the maximum security prison in recent years. In 2015, a riot was sparked when correctional officers attempted to remove a homemade weapon from an inmate's cell. Five men were arrested and charged.
In the summer of 2017, two inmates died in separate events. One man was found unresponsive in his single cell, while another inmate died from injuries he sustained during a fight. Officials didn't give any other information about the time or motivation behind the deadly attack.
In late March of this year, several inmates overpowered a correctional officer and held the officer hostage for almost an hour and a half. The officer was released from captivity uninjured, and no inmates were harmed during the event.
Lee County Correctional Facility is a level three, maximum security prison, which means it houses some of South Carolina's most violent offenders. The facility was opened in Bishopville in 1983 and houses almost 2,000 inmates.