A hostage situation at a Delaware correctional facility turned deadly early Thursday morning.
A prison employee was found dead early Thursday after being captured by inmates at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna, NBC 10 reports.
On Wednesday, inmates there initially took four employees hostage and released two of them later that day, according to Perry Phelps, the state corrections commissioner.
The all-men’s facility, which is the largest in the state, was placed on lockdown and surrounded by police as authorities worked to free the remaining pair.
Around 5 a.m. Thursday, one of the remaining hostages was found dead and the other hostage was rescued and is being evaluated.
“At 5:06 a.m., Delaware State Police breached the C Building,” said a release from the Delaware Department of Corrections. “One of the hostages who is a DOC employee was safely rescued and is being examined at a local hospital. She is alert and talking. The remaining hostage, also a DOC employee, was found unresponsive upon entry. He was pronounced dead at 5:29 a.m.”
The details of the rescue are unclear at this time.
More information is expected at a news conference later today.
Hostages taken after call for help
The incident began shortly after 10:30 a.m. Wednesday when a corrections officer radioed for help in a building that houses more than 100 inmates.
It’s unclear what triggered the call for assistance.
When backup arrived to the building, four corrections employees were taken hostage.
Robert Coupe, Secretary of Delaware’s Department of Safety and Homeland Security said he couldn’t speculate on the inmates’ motives.
At first, authorities said five staffers had been taken hostage. But they later found that one of the staff members believed to have been taken, was actually at another part of the building, Coupe said.
Two officers are released
Throughout the day, negotiations wore on.
“We are doing everything we can to ensure the safety of everyone involved and using all of our available resources,” State Police spokesman Sgt. Richard Bratz said four hours into the standoff.
Around 2:30 p.m., one corrections officer was released and taken to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries, officials said.
Shortly before 8 p.m., a second officer was let go, Coupe said. A helicopter with CNN-affiliate WPVI showed footage of the second hostage being wheeled out on a stretcher. That person is undergoing a health evaluation, Coupe said.
Along with the two hostages, 27 inmates who had been in the same building were released and back in custody. But officials couldn’t say whether those inmates also had been held against their will.