SMYRNA, Del. - UPDATE 8:00AM: The Department of Correction Response Teams and the Delaware State Police report the hostage situation at James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna is now over, with one person dead.
Around 5:00 AM Thursday Delaware State Police reportedly breached the C Building where the hostages were being held. Officials say one of the hostages who is a DOC employee was safely rescued and is being examined at a local hospital. The remaining hostage, also a DOC employee, was reportedly found unresponsive upon entry. He was reportedly pronounced dead around 5:30 AM.
According to officials, Building C is now secured. However, The Department of Correction will continue to operate under emergency procedures.
Shortly after, Delaware Governor John Carney released a statement on the fallen Officer at James T. Vaughn Correctional Center.
Carney says, "I'm praying hard for the fallen officer's family. This serves as a tragic reminder that members of law enforcement risk their lives every day on behalf of the people of Delaware. We will stand by the fallen officer's family and fellow law enforcement officers during what is an extremely difficult time.
"This was a long and agonizing situation. I want to thank all those involved in responding, including officers at the Department of Correction and the Delaware State Police, as well as our federal partners. Our priority now will be to determine what happened and how this happened. We will hold accountable anyone who was responsible. And we will make whatever changes are necessary to ensure nothing like it ever happens again."
The hostage situation began on Wednesday around 10:30 AM, when four members of Department of Correction staff were taken hostage in Building C at JTVCC.
The DOC will release additional information as it is appropriate.
Governor Carney, Secretary Coupe, and Commissioner Phelps plan to host a press conference at 10:30 AM at Delaware State Police Troop 2 in Glasgow.
UPDATE 12:30 AM: As authorities continue to respond to a hostage situation at James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna, additional inmates have reportedly been released.
At about 12:30 AM Thursday, officials say 14 additional inmates were released from Building C and are being held securely elsewhere in the facility.
The hostage situation began on Wednesday around 10:30 AM, when four members of Department of Correction staff were taken hostage in Building C at JTVCC. A total of 46 inmates and two Correctional Officers have been released. Currently, 82 inmates remain in Building C.
UPDATE 8:27 p.m.: At a second press conference regarding the hostage situation at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center, officials announced two of the hostages had been released.
Initially, the number of employee hostages released to the press was five; however, Secretary Rob Coupe says the accurate number was four.
The fifth employee was later found in another area in good condition.
Two of the hostages have been released. The status of their conditions were not released during the press conference. Officials believe two are still being held.
Governor John Carney spoke at the press conference Wednesday night, telling members of the press that he had spoken to the families of those involved.
"Our focus through out the day has been on the safety of our correctional employees," says Governor Carney.
As of 7:57 p.m. Wednesday, 27 total inmates had been released; however, it is unclear whether they were "held against their will".
"We just know they came out," Coupe says.
Perry Phelps, commissioner of the Delaware Department of Corrections, says the maximum security Smryna prison has access to television. When asked if he had a message to the inmates who have been watching, Phelps answered "We would like to tell them we want to resolve this peacefully."
Officials say they have reached out to the FBI amid the ongoing incident.
UPDATE 5:14 PM: At a press conference shortly after 5 PM Wednesday, officials from Delaware State Police, the Department of Correction and the FBI confirmed that five corrections employees were taken hostage by inmates at around 10:32 AM within C Building at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna.
Officials say one hostage was released at around 2:40 PM and transported to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
It is not clear if the other hostages have been injured.
Sgt. Richard Bratz of the Delaware State Police says negotiations continue with the inmate hostage-takers in order to find a peaceful resolution to the situation.
C Building, the section of the prison where the hostages were taken, reportedly houses approximately 100 inmates.
Sgt. Bratz says officials will try to release hourly updates on the situation.
The Associated Press reports at least four guards and one counselor are hostages in the developing situation at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center.
AP says one building is currently under inmate control.
The Department of Correction will issue a statement at 4:45 PM.
Officials have confirmed a hostage situation at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna.
According to the Department of Correction, response teams and Delaware State Police are on the scene at the maximum security correctional center.
The Associated Press is reporting that guards have been taken hostage by inmates.
Officials say they will release more information as it is appropriate.
The Delaware Department of Correction says the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna is currently on lockdown.
As a matter of procedure, all additional Delaware Level 5 institutions are also on lockdown, Department of Correction spokesperson Jayme Gravell said.
Though details are limited at this point, officials confirmed that a special emergency response team has been deployed to JTVCC.
This story will be updated as more details arrive.
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