Delaware correction employee dead after inmates take hostages at prison
A Delaware Department of Correction employee is dead after inmates took several DOC employees hostage in an ordeal that lasted nearly 24 hours inside the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna, officials said this morning.
At 5:06 a.m. today, Delaware State Police breached the C Building, where the situation with two remaining hostages was unfolding, according to the DOC.
One of the two hostages, a DOC employee, was found unresponsive and pronounced dead at 5:29 a.m., the DOC said. The employee was identified Sgt. Steven Floyd, a 16 year veteran of the department, officials said this morning.
The second hostage, also a DOC employee, “was safely rescued” the DOC said. She was not injured, said Department of Safety and Homeland Security Secretary Robert Coop, who added that some inmates allegedly “shielded” her and “ensured her safety.”
After the final two hostages were found, C Building was secured.
The incident began Wednesday around 10:30 a.m. when inmates took four hostages. The first two hostages were eventually released on Wednesday; they were both examined at hospitals and later released, officials said.
Three maintenance workers hid in the basement during the ordeal and the inmates were unaware of them, said Perry Phelps of the DOC. Late Wednesday night, the maintenance workers made their way to the roof and were rescued, Phelps said.
Officials said the decision was made to go in this morning because through negotiations authorities believed inmates were using stalling tactics to buy time to build barricades. Officials said inmates had filled their lockers with water to make a heavy barricade.
Authorities used a backhoe to break down the door and enter the building, officials said.
Coop said at a news conference this morning that authorities are investigating how the hostage situation occurred, adding that the motive is not clear.
Coop said some inmates had sharp instruments but did not offer more details on the weapons.
Inmates in C Building are either heading from lower security to higher security, or from higher security to lower security, Coop said.
He added that about 120 inmates are considered suspects in the investigation at this time.
Delaware Gov. John Carney said flags in Delaware will be flown at half-staff and vowed to leave “no stone unturned” in the investigation.
“We will bring every resource that we have to sort out this issue and this problem to make sure correctional facilities are secure and that the employees who work there are safe,” he said.
In a statement earlier this morning, Carney said that he is “praying hard for the fallen officer’s family.”
“This serves as a tragic reminder that members of law enforcement risk their lives every day on behalf of the people of Delaware,” Carney said. “We will stand by the fallen officer’s family and fellow law enforcement officers during what is an extremely difficult time.”
Carney called the incident a “long and agonizing situation” and said the priority now is to “determine what happened and how this happened.”
“We will hold accountable anyone who was responsible,” Carney said. “And we will make whatever changes are necessary to ensure nothing like it ever happens again.”
Carney added, “I want to thank all those involved in responding, including officers at the Department of Correction and the Delaware State Police, as well as our federal partners.”
The James T. Vaughn Correctional Center is Delaware’s largest male correctional facility, with approximately 2,500 inmates.
Source: abc News