Lauderdale County, Mississippi The Lauderdale County Detention Facility was surrounded with law enforcement officers late Saturday night after a security breach inside of the jail involving dozens of inmates.
All of the flashing police lights outside of the Lauderdale County Detention Facility were a clear indication something wasn't quite right at the jail. According to Sheriff Billy Sollie, correctional officers were engaging in the 10:00 cell lock downs when some of the officers were overtaken by some of the inmates and their keys were taken.
"This allowed some of the inmates to go from pod to pod to pod," Sollie explains. "But they could not get out of the C-building itself. That is controlled in a C-tower, which is a locked environment."
Sollie says SWAT team members from both the Meridian Police Department and Lauderdale County Sheriff's Department were called in to assist with the situation. Also included were Marion Police, Metro Ambulance, and the Meridian Fire Department. Sheriff Sollie says a perimeter was quickly set up.
"To make sure that no one could gain access to the exterior windows," Sollie points out. "When everything was in place, the SWAT team went it, utilizing chemical weapons to bring the riot situation under control."
Afterward, investigators made sure all inmates were placed back into their correct cell. Sollie says thankfully, no one was injured during the course of the riot. In the coming days, authorities will be reviewing videos to determine exactly what led to the incident. Sheriff Sollie tells Newscenter 11 something like this is always possible though when a majority of the inmates are there on felony warrants.
"Overcrowding is causing difficulties," the sheriff says. "The overcrowding is causing more agitation. "More and more draining of the resources of the jail itself. This is an issue the county has got to start facing."
As many as 90 inmates may have been involved in Saturday night's riot. The jail's capacity is 290 inmates.