Image

2:37 PM / Thursday June 22, 2017

3 Feb 2017

Officials: One hostage dead after inmates take over prison

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
February 3, 2017 Category: Week In Review Posted by:

ABOVE PHOTO:  A scene from James T. VAUGHN Correction Center in Delaware where inmates took control of the building taking four corrections department workers hostage.  The 24-hour hostage standoff ended Thursday morning with one of the hostages dead. (Photo: Itsgoingdown.org)

By Randall Chase

Associated Press

SMYRNA, Del.  — Police breached a building at Delaware’s largest prison early Thursday, ending a nearly 24-hour hostage standoff that left one corrections employee dead.

Inmates assumed control of the building at the James T. Vaughn Correction Center on Wednesday, taking four corrections department workers hostage. The inmates told a local newspaper that concerns about their treatment and the leadership of the United States had prompted their actions.

Authorities did not immediately explain how the employee died. They said Delaware State Police entered the building about 5:05 AM. Thursday and found the man unresponsive. He was pronounced dead about 25 minutes later.

A second Department of Correction employee who had been held hostage was rescued. She is being examined at a hospital.

The prison is in Smyrna, about 15 miles north of the state capital of Dover.

Delaware Gov. John Carney said the priority now is to determine what happened and why.

In a statement released Thursday, the new Democratic governor said officials will “hold accountable anyone who was responsible” for taking the hostages. He said officials will “make whatever changes are necessary to ensure nothing like it ever happens again.”

Details of how many inmates were involved and how they took control of the building were not immediately clear. Robert Coupe, secretary of the Delaware Department of Safety and Homeland Security, said authorities don’t know “the dynamics of the takeover” or whether inmates had been held against their will.

A preliminary investigation suggests the disturbance began about 10:30 a.m. Wednesday when a correctional officer inside Building C, which houses more than 100 inmates, radioed for immediate assistance, Delaware State Police spokesman Sgt. Richard Bratz said. Other officers responded to help, and the employees were taken hostage, he said.

A news release from the Delaware Department of Correction said 14 more inmates were released about 12:30 a.m. Thursday from the building where the hostages had been held and were being held elsewhere at the prison. The news release said a total of 46 inmates had been released from the building since the standoff began.

Image

The hostage situation drew dozens of officers and law enforcement vehicles and prompted a statewide lockdown of all prisons. One hostage was released Wednesday afternoon and another was released hours later.

One of the freed employees was taken to a hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening, authorities said. The condition of the second wasn’t immediately available.

Earlier in the day, inmates reached out to The News Journal in Wilmington in two phone calls to explain their actions and make demands. Prisoners funneled the calls to the paper with the help of one inmate’s fiancee and another person’s mother. The mother told the paper that her son was among the hostages.

In that call, an inmate said their reasons “for doing what we’re doing” included “Donald Trump. Everything that he did. All the things that he’s doing now. We know that the institution is going to change for the worse.”

That caller said education for prisoners was the inmates’ priority. They also said they want effective rehabilitation for all prisoners and information about how money is allocated to prisons.

According to the department’s website, the prison is Delaware’s largest correctional facility for men, with about 2,500 inmates. It houses minimum, medium and maximum security inmates, and also houses Kent County detainees awaiting trial.

It employs 1,500 corrections officers, according to Bruce Rogers, counsel for the Correctional Officers Association of Delaware.

In 2004, an inmate at the Smyrna prison raped a counselor and took her hostage for nearly seven hours, according to an Associated Press report at the time. A department sharpshooter later shot and killed 45-year-old Scott Miller, according to the report, ending the standoff.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter

Leave a Comment

Recent News

Go With The-Flo

Philly salutes boxing legend Michael Spinks at Warmdaddys

June 15, 2017

ABOVE PHOTO:  Michael Spinks (1987)   By Florence Anthony Diana Ross’s oldest son Ross Naess, 29, married...

Seniors

Survey: Cataracts impact lifestyle; surgery brings emotional benefits

June 15, 2017

BPT You may know that cataracts can interfere with your ability to see clearly, but might be...

Beauty

Seek experienced, skilled technicians when pursuing stylish, modern look with scalp micropigmentation (part 2)

June 15, 2017

By Leah Fletcher Scalp tattoos — now branded as scalp micropigmentation — is a viable alternative for...

Horoscopes

SUNscopes for the week of June 18

June 15, 2017

By Georgia Nicols All Signs: This week the Sun enters Cancer where it will stay for the...

Color Of Money

Brown: Deadline extended for Pa. Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program

June 15, 2017

State Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown, (D-190 Dist.), announced that the deadline for the 2016 Pennsylvania Property Tax/Rent...

Entertainment

Prodigy of influential rap group Mobb Deep dies at 42

June 21, 2017

Prodigy, one half of influential New York rap duo Mobb Deep, has died. He was 42. The...

The Philadelphia Sunday Sun Staff