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COLUMBIA, S.C. — Seven inmates have been killed and at least 17 others seriously injured amid fighting between prisoners inside a maximum security prison in South Carolina.

Prisons spokesman Jeff Taillon announced the grim outcome after State Law Enforcement Division agents helped secure Lee Correctional Institution about  3 a.m. Monday.

Taillon said no officers were wounded after multiple inmate fights broke out at 7:15 p.m. Sunday. He said 17 of the injured required medical attention outside the prison.

The South Carolina Department of Corrections tweeted that it involved multiple inmate-on-inmate altercations in three housing units.

Lee County Fire/Rescue said ambulances from multiple jurisdictions lined up outside to tend to the wounded. The local coroner's office also responded.

The maximum-security facility in Bishopville houses about 1,500 inmates, some of South Carolina's most violent and longest-serving offenders. Two officers were stabbed there in a 2015 fight. One inmate killed another in February.

These deaths at Lee are the most in any South Carolina prison in recent years. Four inmates were killed by a pair of prisoners in the state's Kirkland Correctional Institution last year.

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