UPDATE: 1 DOC employee dead as Delaware State Police end hostage standoff at Smyrna's Vaughn Prison
By Andrew Sgroi

Updated Thursday, February 2, 2017 - 9:09am

A nearly 24-hour hostage crisis at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center was terminated on Thursday morning.
A nearly 24-hour hostage crisis at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center was terminated on Thursday morning.

The Delaware Delaware Department of Correction notified of an official siege today (Thursday), during which the DOC Response Teams and Delaware State Police breached the "C" Building on the the maximum security facility's sprawling campus at 5:05 a.m.

One hostage, who was identified as a DOC employee, was safely rescued and was being examined at a local hospital, advised authorities. Another remaining captive, also a Department of Correction employee, was found unresponsive upon entry. That unidentified male officer was pronounced dead at 5:29 a.m., officials said.

"I'm praying hard for the fallen officer's family," Governor John Carney revealed in a statement. "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 takeover began at 10:32 a.m., Wednesday, when an undetermined number of inmates took hostages, several of them employees of the prison.

A single Delaware Department of Correction staff member had been released at 2:25 p.m. on Wednesday, as previously reported. The officer was taken by ambulance with non-life threatening injuries.

Then, by Wednesday evening, it was learned that another DOC staffer, and more than two dozen inmates, had been discharged during two other releases.

Early today (Thursday), it was reported by prison officials that 14 additional inmates had been released at approximately 12:30 a.m., bringing the total number of clearances to two correctional officers and 46 inmates.

Though the standoff was reportedly over, authorities advised the investigation into the hostage situation would be ongoing. A news conference was scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Thursday.

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