Seven inmates killed at South Carolina maximum security prison after hours of fighting

Hours of fighting among inmates inside a maximum security facility in South Carolina has led to the deaths of seven prisoners and injuries of 17 others, state corrections officials said early Monday.

The fighting began at the Lee Correctional Institution in Bishopville at 7:15 p.m. ET Sunday. The prison wasn’t secured until almost 3 a.m., the South Carolina Department of Corrections tweeted.

Authorities added that all prison staff and responding law enforcement were “safe and accounted for.”

Lee County Fire and Rescue tweeted early Monday that it and several other EMS crews responded to a “mass casualty” situation.

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Lee County Fire@LeeCountyFire

Lee County Fire/Rescue assisted With a Mass Causality Incident at Lee Correctional. Mutual Aid was received from FlorenceCounty EMS, Kershaw County EMS, Darlington County EMS, Lexington County EMS and Hartsville Rescue. Assistance was also received from Med One a private service.

Corrections officials did not immediately say what led to the incident and why it took hours to stop the series of altercations.

Lee Correctional houses about 1,500 inmates, some of South Carolina’s most violent and longest-serving offenders. Two officers were stabbed in a 2015 fight. One inmate killed another in February.