Hostage Situation at Delaware Prison Ends With One Employee Dead
A hostage situation and standoff that lasted about 20 hours at Delaware’s largest state prison has resulted in the death of one prison guard, according to reports.
The situation first unfolded around 10 a.m. yesterday, when inmates at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna took four corrections department workers and roughly 100 prisoners hostage, expressing frustration over their treatment at the prison and apprehension over the state of law enforcement and prison reform under President Donald Trump.
By about 5 a.m. this morning, only two Department of Correction employees were still held hostage when Delaware State Police entered the building and discovered that one of them was unresponsive. That employee was pronounced dead shortly, according to the Associated Press. After police secured the building, the second employee was brought to a local hospital for examination and is reportedly “alert and talking,” according to ABC.
The Department of Corrections Response Team and Delaware State Police are investigating the situation, which reportedly took place in the prison’s Building C Tier B. The hostage-takers reportedly first released an injured but stable employee around 2:30 p.m. yesterday and slowly released hostages in groups throughout the rest of the day.
Little information was offered as to how many inmates were holding the group hostage. Around 2 p.m. yesterday, The News Journal received a phone call from a person who claimed to be a hostage and said they were “just doing what I’m being told to. I’m just trying to help, ma’am. They just need somebody to hear their demands.”
The person said the hostages were demanding reform at the prison and offered a list of complaints, including “improper sentencing orders. Status sheets being wrong. Oppression towards the inmates,” according to The News Journal.
The newspaper reports that, during another phone call, another person claiming to be a hostage said “we’re trying to explain the reasons for doing what we’re doing. 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 … We got demands that you need to pay attention to, that you need to listen to and you need to let them know. Education, we want education first and foremost. We want a rehabilitation program that works for everybody. We want the money to be allocated so we can know exactly what is going on in the prison, the budget.”
The News Journal has posted the audio on its website.
The James T. Vaughn Correctional Center is the state’s largest male correctional facility, according to its website, with about 2,500 inmates.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
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