Delaware prison standoff over with one hostage dead
Delaware prison officials say one hostage is dead and a second is alert and talking after authorities went into a building at the state's largest prison where inmates took staff members hostage.
SMYRNA, Del. (AP) -- Delaware prison officials say one hostage is dead and a second is alert and talking after authorities went into a building at the state's largest prison where inmates took staff members hostage.
Officials announced in a statement Thursday morning that the building where the disturbance occurred at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center is now secure. The prison is in Smyrna, about 15 miles north of the state capital of Dover.
Officials say after police breached the building, one Department of Correction worker was found unresponsive and later pronounced dead.
The inmates took the hostages Wednesday morning, prompting a lockdown of all Delaware prisons. The inmates released one staffer in the afternoon and another Wednesday night. At least one of those staffers had injuries that weren't considered life-threatening.
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.
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