Authorities stormed the C Building at JTVCC just before day light Thursday morning using a back hoe to bust down one of the walls.
Smyrna: It was about 5:00 A.M. when authorities used a back hoe to breach a wall at the C building where two remaining hostages were being held along with an unknown number of inmates at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna. Authorities say inmates used water obtained through negotiations to fill up foot lockers, and used them as barricades in the doorways, preventing authorities from gaining access into the building.
When authorities began clearing the building, they rescued a female counselor who was being shielded by other inmates. It wasn’t until twenty minutes later that they found the remaining hostage, a corrections officer unresponsive. He was pronounced dead at 5:29 A.M. Thursday.
Prisoners were seen being escorted out into a fenced in yard and being laid down on their stomachs and appeared to be hand cuffed Officers were leading them to another building one by one with two officers to each prisoner.
Authorities said, the guards who were taken hostage earlier in the ordeal were badly beaten by their captors and suffered broken bones, cuts and an eye injury. They also said their injuries were not life-threatening.
After 8:00 P.M. Wednesday night, the two that remained held against their will at the facility was Sgt. Steven Floyd, and a female counselor, who was safely rescued minutes after the tactical teams forced their way into the facility using a back hoe to bust down a wall. According to authorities, 20 minutes after being inside, they found Floyd unresponsive; He was pronounced dead about a half-hour later.
“She was not injured in this ordeal, and I would go as far to say that there were inmates that actually shielded this victim,” Delaware Secretary of Safety and Homeland Security Robert Coupe of the female counselor that was rescued.
In a late morning press conference, Gov. John Carney said of the uprising, “torturous ordeal. ”,“ authorities will hold accountable those responsible and make whatever changes are necessary to ensure nothing like it ever happens again.”
“My prayers all day yesterday was that this event would end with a different result but it didn’t,” the governor said. “So today all of us mourn for the family of Sgt. Floyd.”
Initially, around 10:30 A.M. Wednesday, James T. Vaughn Correctional Center was put on lock down for a reported emergency situation that occurred in the C Building. As a result all Delaware prisons have been put on lockdown which is the Department of Corrections policy when an emergency occurs at any one of the four state facilities.
Bruce Rogers, counsel for the Correctional Officers Association of Delaware, told The Associated Press that inmates had taken control of one building at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center. Injuries to both officers and inmates were reported, he said.
In a brief statement, the Department of Corrections said DOC Response Teams and the Delaware State police were on the scene responding to a hostage situation.
Firefighters were also called to the scene after reports of smoke and are being held on stand by.
The last incident to happen at the facility was on July 12, 2004, inmate Scott A. Miller abducted and raped a prison counselor. Miller, a convicted serial rapist, was serving a 699-year prison sentence at the Delaware Correctional Center – now Vaughn Correctional Center – when he passed through two security checkpoints armed with a homemade knife before taking Cassandra Arnold hostage for nearly seven hours, sexually assaulting her during the ordeal. The standoff ended when a corrections officer shot Miller to death.
The JTVCC is a Level 5 (prison) facility for men located near Smyrna, Delaware, in southern New Castle County. The James T. Vaughn Correctional Center is the state’s largest adult, male correctional facility. Currently, JTVCC houses approximately 2,500 inmates. JTVCC houses minimum, medium, and maximum security inmates. JTVCC is also the primary facility for housing the Kent County pre-trial (detainee) population.
It also used to house inmates sentenced to the death penalty. Executions were carried out at the JTVCC, until late last year when a federal court ruled that executions were unconstitutional.