Gov has ’complete confidence’ in SC prison chief

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina’s governor is expressing support for his state prisons chief following riots at a maximum-security prison that killed seven inmates.

Gov. Henry McMaster’s spokesman Brian Symmes tells The Associated Press on Monday that the governor has “complete confidence” in director Bryan Stirling’s ability to lead the South Carolina Department of Corrections.

Stirling was appointed by then-Gov. Nikki Haley in 2013 to lead the state prison agency. When McMaster took over as governor last year, he kept Stirling, who had previously worked for him in the state Attorney General’s Office.

Seven inmates died during hours of rioting that began Sunday evening. A coroner says it appears many of the seven inmates died of stabbing and slashing wounds.

Lee County Coroner Larry Logan told The Associated Press that he arrived to a chaotic scene of fights everywhere at Lee Correctional Institution.

Logan says it appears most of the seven were killed by stabbing or slashing. He says others may have been beaten, but autopsies will be needed to confirm what caused their deaths.

Logan said he just finished identifying all the dead Monday and is working to notify relatives. Names have not been released.

Authorities say it took eight hours to quell the riots and secure the prison. No employees were hurt.

Don't Miss a Story

Sign up for our newsletter to receive daily news directly in your inbox.