7 inmates killed in 'mass casualty incident' at SC maximum security prison

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Seven inmates were killed during fights that lasted more than seven hours at a South Carolina prison Sunday night and into Monday morning, according to officials.
At least six emergency agencies responded to a "mass casualty incident" at Lee Correctional Institution in Lee County that resulted in the seven inmate deaths and 17 other inmates requiring medical attention, the S.C. Department of Corrections announced early Monday morning.
Lee County Fire and Rescue said in a Facebook post Monday morning that it assisted with the incident at Lee Correctional Institution. EMS crews from Florence County, Kershaw County, Lexington County and Hartsville also responded. 
The Lee County Coroner's Office could not be reached immediately.
The S.C. Department of Corrections said on Twitter around the same time that an incident involving "multiple inmate on inmate altercations" in three housing units at the prison began around 7:15 p.m. Sunday. The prison was secure just before 3 a.m., the agency said.
The department said all responding officers and emergency workers are safe and accounted for.

Lee Correctional Institution was secured at 2:55 AM following an incident which started at 7:15 PM. The incident involved multiple inmate on inmate altercations in three housing units.
The maximum-security facility that houses about 1,600 inmates in Bishopville, about 55 miles from Columbia, is home to some of South Carolina's most violent, longest-serving offenders. In recent years, there have been several large insurrections, including one in which an inmate overpowered a guard and used his keys to free others from their cells.
The seven deaths at Lee Correctional are the most in any S.C. prison in recent history, The Associated Press reported. Four inmates were killed last year by fellow prisoners at the state's Kirkland Correctional Institution in Columbia.
The prison has had several violent incidents over the years.
Sunday's fatal fights came three weeks after inmates briefly held an officer hostage and took control of part of a dorm at the Bishopville prison.
An inmate died during a fight in the prison last July.
In January 2016, five inmates were injured in a fight in one of the housing units. Five months later, one inmate was killed and another injured during an incident.
Five corrections officers were injured during a December 2007 attack by three inmates in one of the dorms.
In June 2012, the prison was placed on lockdown after a guard was taken hostage.

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