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COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Inmates armed with homemade knives fought each other for more than seven hours inside a maximum-security prison, leaving seven of them dead, officials said. An inmate who witnessed the riot told The Associated Press that bodies were “literally stacked on top of each other.”

At least 17 prisoners were seriously injured as inmates fought uninterrupted before authorities regained control of Lee Correctional Institution about 3 a.m. Monday, South Carolina prisons spokesman Jeff Taillon said.

It is important to note that the article goes on to state the following:

The inmate who spoke to AP said that many cell door locks were already broken before the riot and that he and other prisoners roamed around freely. Hours after the violence started, no correctional officers or medical personnel attended to the dead or dying, he said.

“It’s been over two hours, but no COs (corrections officers) have responded to this unit, and no medical personnel have attempted to render any kind of aid,” he wrote. “The COs never even attempted to render aid, nor quell the disturbance. They just sat in the control bubble, called the issue in, then sat on their collective asses.”

South Carolina prison guards are not armed, so as long as employees aren’t threatened, they typically seal off wings when there is an inmate uprising and wait for a special team of state police to arrive to try and stop the rioting.

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