Using a backhoe to smash through a barricade of footlockers, authorities stormed Delaware’s largest prison early Thursday and ended a nearly 24-hour hostage standoff involving inmates armed with sharpened objects. One hostage — a guard — was found dead.
A second hostage, a female counselor, was safely rescued minutes after the tactical teams forced their way into the all-male, 2,500-prisoner James T. Vaughn Correctional Center. Some inmates had shielded her from harm, officials said.
Gov. John Carney called the uprising a “torturous” ordeal. In a statement, he said authorities will hold accountable those responsible and “make whatever changes are necessary to ensure nothing like it ever happens again.”
Authorities did not immediately explain how 47-year-old Sgt. Steven Floyd died, but the head of the guards union said the 16-year veteran of the prison was forced into a closet and killed by his captors at some point.
During the takeover, Floyd yelled to other guards who were coming to help him that the inmates had set a trap, saving some of his fellow officers’ lives, said Geoffrey Klopp, union president.
The uprising began Wednesday when inmates with homemade weapons overpowered staff members, seized Building C and took three guards and a counselor hostage.
One inmate told a local newspaper via phone that they were demanding better education and rehabilitation programs and were also upset over President Donald Trump and “all the things that he’s doing now.”
“We know that the institution is going to change for the worse,” he told The News Journal in Wilmington.
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