Inmates Killed in South Carolina Prison Riot

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At least seven people are dead after fights broke out at a maximum security prison in SC, according to authorities.

The South Carolina Department of Corrections tweeted that it involved multiple inmate-on-inmate altercations in three housing units.

One of South Carolina's most risky prisons was secured early Monday after a "mass casualty incident" involving multiple inmates at several housing units, officials said.

Officials with the department of corrections say the fighting began at 7:15 p.m.

State officials have pledged for years to make South Carolina's prisons, particularly Lee Correctional Institution, safer after a series of deadly fights.

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Sturgeon said the suspected use of chemical weapons was "sickening", but warned that the latest action risked "dangerous escalation".

In a statement, SCDC Police Services and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division said they will be investigating the incident.

Lee County EMS personnel are also responding, according to a source. An investigation has been launched into how the riot broke out.

The facility, which opened in 1993, houses around 1,500 prisoners, including some of the state's most violent criminals, reports the Associated Press. The inmates held the officer for about 25 minutes before it was secured by law enforcement.

Two officers were stabbed there in a 2015 fight.

This story is developing and will be updated.