Prison riots killed seven inmates in South Carolina

COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina prisons director said a riot that led to the deaths of seven inmates was a fight over money, territory and contraband.

Corrections Director Bryan Stirling said cellphones helped stir up trouble Sunday night at the Lee Correctional Institute in Bishopville. He said the fights started in one unit and appeared to be contained before suddenly starting in two more units.

Stirling said it took several hours to restore order, but once a special SWAT team entered, the inmates gave up peacefully.

Stirling said there were only two guards in each unit and they followed their training to back out and ask for support if they are outnumbered.

The riot was the deadliest in the United States in the past 25 years.