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National

Guards Regain Control Of Delaware Prison After Inmate Standoff

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

A 19-hour standoff at a prison in Smyrna, Del., is over. Inmates at the state's largest prison took four hostages yesterday morning. One is dead. James Dawson of Delaware Public Media has more.

JAMES DAWSON, BYLINE: The standoff ended this morning when Delaware State Police broke down a wall at James T. Vaughn Correctional Center with a backhoe. Inside, troopers found a 16-year veteran officer who was later pronounced dead. Another was found alive during this morning's raid. The state attempted to end the standoff yesterday by cutting off the building's water supply, then restored the water as part of negotiations. Delaware Homeland Security Secretary Robert Coupe said prisoners used that against them to delay police from breaking up the standoff.

ROBERT COUPE: They filled those foot lockers with water, which created very heavy building blocks, and they used those blocks to build a wall at the entrance ways.

DAWSON: Coupe and Governor John Carney teared up as they talked about 47-year-old Steven Floyd. Carney vowed to thoroughly investigate the incident to make prison safer for state workers.

(SOUNDBITE OF PRESS CONFERENCE)

JOHN CARNEY: The best way that we can honor Sergeant Steven Floyd is to do this work diligently, together and expeditiously.

DAWSON: During the standoff, inmates demanded more training for correctional officers and better educational and rehab programs. All 120 prisoners in the building are considered suspects. For NPR News, I'm James Dawson in Dover, Del.

(SOUNDBITE OF SOUND TRIBE SECTOR 9 SONG, "TOKYO") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.