Four inmates have been found dead inside a housing unit at one of the state's prisons.
The four men were found dead at Kirkland Correctional Institution in Richland County at 10:35 a.m., said Sommer Sharpe, spokeswoman for the S.C. Department of Corrections.
The cause of their deaths is unknown at this time. Their names have not been released pending next of kin notification.
"I have asked the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division to lead this investigation," said Bryan Stirling, corrections department director.
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SLED agents will lead the investigation, but will be assisted by the Richland County Coroner’s Office and the corrections department’s police services division, Sharpe said.
Kirkland Correctional Institution is one of the state’s high-security facilities. It is also home to a Maximum Security Unit, where the most dangerous and violent prisoners are housed. Kirkland is part of the Broad River Complex off Broad River Road.
There have been previous incidents of violence reported at Kirkland. In 2015, two inmates were charged with felonies for taking two nurses as hostages with homemade knives, after they forced themselves into a nurse station.
In 2016, a corrections officer was fired for allegedly hitting a handcuffed inmate in the face.
Check back for updates to this developing story.