A total of a dozen inmates are now facing charges after a South Carolina jail riot in which two guards were held hostage and injured.
Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott announced charges against 10 inmates during a news conference Wednesday in Columbia. Two other men were charged earlier this month.
Authorities have been trying to figure out how many inmates were involved in the riot on the morning of Sept. 3 at Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center. Inmates attacked two officers and destroyed much of a unit housing about 50 inmates before a special team “used a show of force” to end the riot, Lott said.
All 12 men are facing charges of assault and first-degree battery, taking hostages and rioting.
Two inmates are also charged with unlawful escape. At around 8 a.m. on Sept. 3, one of those men was able to get his cell door open, then helped a second inmate do the same. That inmate then went to an officer desk and unlocked all of the cell doors in that dorm, authorities said Wednesday.
When officers tried to restore order, inmates hit them with chairs, trash cans and mattresses, according to an investigation.
“I can’t imagine how scared these corrections officers were when they were attacked,” Lott said Wednesday.
Jail staff called a response team, which stopped the riot without attacking inmates or using tear gas. Deputies ordered everyone back into their cells and then began taking them individually to another wing of the jail, Lott said.
No inmates were injured, according to authorities. Two officers were hospitalized with injuries that were not life-threatening, Lott said, describing the experience of the wounded officers as harrowing.
“You got attacked by multiple inmates, and you were at their mercy for a while,” Lott said.
The jail is named for officer Alvin S. Glenn, who was beaten and strangled by three inmates trying to escape in 2000.
Meg Kinnard can be reached at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP.