Guard rescued at SC prison; officers control unit

Last Updated: Wed, Jun 06, 2012 14:00 hrs

A guard held hostage at a South Carolina high security prison was rescued early Wednesday after a standoff of more than 6 hours, a corrections department spokesman said.

The officer was rescued and prison officials regained control of the building at the Lee Correctional Institution here around 3:15 a.m. when negotiations with the inmates failed, said Clark Newsome, a spokesman for the agency.

About 100 corrections officers and State Law Enforcement Division agents blew open a door and regained control of the building. The inmates did not resist, Newsome said.

The officer appeared to have a suffered a head injury that was not thought to be serious and was taken to a hospital for evaluation. His name has not been released.

No other injuries were immediately reported.

A nurse escorted by a guard was passing out medicine around 9 p.m. Tuesday when some inmates overpowered the guard. The nurse was able to escape.

Newsome did not know how many inmates were involved, but the unit houses as many as 130 inmates.

Newsome said some inmates with illegal cell phones in the prison unit called Lee County dispatchers about the seizure of the guard.

"There were ongoing conversations through the evening; nothing was happening concrete and that made us think it was a pretty disorganized effort," Newsome said. That prompted officers to attack.

Bishopville is about 50 miles northeast of Columbia.

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