An unknown number of prisoners inside the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Delaware took control Wednesday morning and are holding four Delaware Department of Correction (DOC) employees hostage at the maximum-security prison.
The standoff is now in it’s 9th hour.
Delaware State Police spokesman Richard Bratz told an evening news conference that five DOC employees were originally taken hostage at around 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, but one captive was released approximately four hours later. The unidentified hostage was taken to a local hospital with life-threatening injuries.
Bruce Rogers, counsel for the Correctional Officers Association of Delaware, told the Associated Press that the hostages included four guards and a prison counselor. Bratz did not specify the occupation of the released hostage.
Earlier this afternoon, The News Journal tipline received a call from the fiancé of an inmate at the Smyrna prison being held hostage. Then, a man’s voice was patched onto the line and he said he was asked by hostage takers to relay demands to The News Journal.
“I’m just doing what I’m being told to. I’m just trying to help, ma’am,” the man told a News Journal reporter. “They just need somebody to hear their demands.” The man would not give his name because he said he was instructed not to.
“We’re trying to explain the reasons for doing what we’re doing,” another caller into The News Journal tipline said. “Donald Trump. Everything that he did. All the things that he’s doing now. We know that the institution is going to change for the worse. We know the institution is going to change for the worse. We got demands that you need to pay attention to, that you need to listen to and you need to let them know. Education, we want education first and foremost. We want a rehabilitation program that works for everybody. We want the money to be allocated so we can know exactly what is going on in the prison, the budget.”
Jayme Gravell, spokeswoman for the Department of Correction, described the situation as “an isolated incident” and specified there is no threat to the general public.