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Officials said all staff and responding law enforcement officers were safe and accounted for.

"I just saw three dead on the sidewalk outside of my unit".

This post 7 Murdered, 17 Injured In South Carolina Prison Riot first appeared on Vibe.

Corrections officials did not immediately say what led to the incident and why it took hours to stop the series of altercations.

Lee Correctional - located in Bishopville, 55 miles east of Columbia - has had several violent eruptions in the past.

After the incident was brought under control, the officer was evaluated by medical personnel and released. "They just sat in the control bubble, called the issue in, then sat on their collective a--".

Mr Stirling said the response teams entered as quickly as they could. "We had enough people there to enter safely and we took that dorm back", Stirling said. However, autopsies will determine the exact causes of death for all seven inmates who died during the riot. The Lee County coroner told the Associated Press that most of the dead appeared to have been killed by stabbing or slashing.

Mr Stirling said an investigation would determine if any other type of weapon was used.

Michael Milledge, 44, serving 25 years for drug trafficking.

Stirling and the governor both appealed to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to allow them to block cellphone signals to prisons to prevent inmates from communicating with people on the outside world.

The coroner said when he arrived it was a chaotic scene of fighting everywhere.

The inmate sent messages to AP as events unfolded overnight Sunday into Monday morning at Lee Correctional Institution.

The prison is a maximum security facility that houses almost 1,600 inmates.

The overnight violence at Lee Correctional Institution was one of the deadliest at a USA prison in decades. "We failed. That's it". About an hour and 15 minutes later, another fight broke out in two other dorms.

The prison has 1,583 inmates.

As the hours dragged on during a riot at a SC prison, bodies piled up on the sidewalk.

It said 12 inmates were killed by other prisoners a year ago, up from five in 2016.

Representative Todd Rutherford, the leader of the Democratic minority in the state House of Representatives, condemned the violence. He said cellphones allow gang leaders to continue criminal operations while incarcerated.