Standoff over – One hostage dead at Vaughn Correctional Center

WHYY photo

One Department of Corrections  employee is dead following a more than 20-hour standoff at the James Vaughn Correctional Center in southern New Castle County, near Smyrna.

WHYY Newsworks reported that at  5:06 Thursday morning, Delaware State Police entered the C building where two corrections. workers were being held hostage. They were able to safely rescue one of the hostages, a woman who was taken to a local hospital for treatment. The second employee was found unresponsive as police entered the

They were able to rescue one of the hostages, a woman who was taken to a local hospital for treatment. The second employee was found unresponsive as troopers entered the building. He was pronounced dead at 5:29 a.m. Thursday morning. 

No  information was released on the hostage takers. 

“I’m praying hard for the fallen officer’s family,” said Delaware Governor John Carney. “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.”
Carney continued, “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 incident lasted more than 20 hours, with  hostages released over that period until two remained. 

According to the Corrections Department website, Vaughn is a Level 5 facility that is located on the southern edge of New Castle County. It houses 2,500 inmates and is the home to Delaware’s death row.

The prison opened in 1971 and  expanded  as the state’s population grew and guidelines called for stiffer sentences. The prison saw a $110 million expansion in 1996 that added nearly 900 beds.

A press conference later this morning will be held later this morning. 

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