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South Carolina prison guard held hostage by inmates is rescued

June 06, 2012|By David Zucchino
  • A file photo of the Lee Correctional Institution near Bishopville, S.C. A guard held hostage at the prison was rescued early Wednesday.
A file photo of the Lee Correctional Institution near Bishopville, S.C.… (Jason Clark / Associated…)

Police and prison guards in South Carolina stormed a high-security prison block early Wednesday morning, freeing a prison guard who had been held hostage by inmates.

After a standoff lasting more than six hours inside the prison’s most secure unit, the guard was rescued unharmed. Guards regained control of the Lee Correctional Institution in Bishopville, S.C., the State newspaper of Columbia reported.

The guard had been forced to wear an inmate’s uniform, but other guards recognized him. The inmates did not resist, and no prisoner attempted to escape from the unit, the newspaper reported.

The guard apparently suffered a head injury that was not considered serious and was taken to a hospital for evaluation. No inmates were reported injured.

The guard was overpowered by inmates Tuesday night as he escorted a nurse who was distributing medication on the cell block, which houses 116 inmates in isolation cells. The nurse escaped unharmed.

Authorities were notified of the incident by inmates who called on their contraband cellphones. Some inmates who were not involved in the abduction barricaded themselves inside their cells, the newspaper reported.

A team of about 100 prison guards and state law enforcement officers stormed the cell block at about 3:15 a.m., blowing open a door. Officials had negotiated with inmates for about six hours before launching the rescue effort.

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david.zucchino@latimes.com

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