Prison Inmates in Delaware Take Guards Hostage, 1 Dead

Prison Inmates in Delaware Take Guards Hostage, 1 Dead

[UPDATE: February 2, 2017 10:00 a.m.]

Officials gave a press conference Thursday morning to give a timeline of events and share details with reporters on the hostage situation that lasted over 15 hours at James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Delaware.

Robert Coupe, Secretary of Delaware’s Department of Safety and Homeland Security said that they would be considering all 120 inmates of building C suspects in the hostage situation that led to the  death of Steven Floyd, a 16-year veteran.

Officials did not release any details of his death, just that he was found to be unresponsive when tactical teams used a backhoe to tear through the inmates' wall of foot lockers filled with water that created a wall to block the doors.

A female counselor was found to be safe when teams finally entered building C. Coup said that there was reason to believe that some inmates were, in fact, protecting her from harm.

Coup updated the information on the identities of the hostages to be three correctional officers and a counselor. It was previously reported that all the hostages were correctional officers.

Officials also told reporters that there were three maintenance workers who were hiding in a basement level of the building from the inmates during the standoff. FBI and police were able to make contact with these employees as they made their way to the roof of the building where they were then rescued. They were not injured.

Coup said that the remaining hostages were alive and were being treated for non life-threatening injuries.

The original story is posted below.

Inmates of James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna, Delaware took control of a building at the prison and held at least 4 prison guards in a hostage situation that lasted almost 24 hours.

Local police, FBI and emergency units were dispatched to the prison at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, February 1, when a corrections officer radioed for help in a building that houses more than 100 inmates. At this time it is unclear why the officer radioed for help.

When backup arrived to the building, four corrections employees were taken hostage. At first, authorities believed five people had been taken hostage, but the fifth person, a counselor at the prison, was found safe in a different part of the building.

Throughout the day, officers tried to gain communication with the inmates inside to negotiate the release of the hostages. By 2:30 p.m., a hostage was released and taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Another hostage was released just before 8 p.m., aerial footage from a local news station shows the hostage leaving the building on a stretcher. That person is currently undergoing a health evaluation, Robert Coupe, Secretary of Delaware’s Department of Safety and Homeland Security said.

Along with the two hostages, 27 inmates who had been in the same building were released and taken back in custody. Officials did not say if these inmates had been held against their will.

As of 5:00 a.m. the remaining two hostages were still being held inside the prison building, nearly a day after the original call for help had been radioed out.

A statement from The Department of Corrections said that police were able to safely rescue one of the corrections employees from the building around 8:30 a.m., and found the last remaining hostage dead on the scene. The rescued employee is being treated at a local hospital.

Coupe said they do not have any information leading to a motive for the incident.

James T. Vaughn is the largest all-men’s facility in the state. Some of the most violent criminals are housed at this prison.

  • Securing Entertainment Venues Securing Entertainment Venues

    One thing entertainment venues, sports stadiums and theme park officials want to accomplish is getting people back into their seats. That is happening today—but not without understanding and technology. In this episode, AJ DeRosa shares his insight on how COVID-impacted businesses are able to face safety and security issues with confidence and technology. We also discuss visitor expectations and how venue officials can ensure their space is secure as they welcome visitors back.

Digital Edition

  • Environmental Protection
  • Occupational Health & Safety
  • Infrastructure Solutions Group
  • Spaces4Learning
  • Campus Security & Life Safety