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Inmate who took hostage in Ill. prison is shot, killed

Associated Press

PINCKNEYVILLE, Ill. — Illinois prison officials say an inmate who took an employee hostage at the Pinckneyville Correctional Center in southern Illinois has been shot and killed.

Watchtower at the Pinckneyville Correctional Center in Ill. where the hostage situation took place.

The Illinois Department of Corrections says the 37-year-old inmate was pronounced dead at the scene about 5 p.m. Monday. That was about nearly seven hours after the incident began. His name hasn’t been released.

The hostage was a 62-year-old female employee, said to have been tied to a chair during at least part of her captivity, but that detail has not been confirmed. Officials say the woman was rescued and was being evaluated by medical personnel.

The librarian was taken hostage in the prison library at approximately 10:30 a.m. A guard told the Du Quoin Evening Call newspaper that the inmate “kept making excuses to stay in the library; he kept wanting to look up things.”

The library is located in the vocational-education building behind the administration building in the center of the yard--just below a guard tower. Guards say inmates have access to the library throughout much of the day. There is both dedicated “library time” and educational time.

One corrections officer told the newspaper that in his mind the library “is not that secure” with one or two guards standing nearby. His thought mirrored an ongoing frustration with the Illinois Department of Corrections over understaffing. “For the last six years, Illinois prisons have been understaffed by about 1,000 guards,” he said. “It was going to take something like this to hit a nerve.”

The agency says around 2,200 male inmates in the prison remain on lockdown and the facility is secure.

Corrections officials say the offender was serving a sentence for aggravated criminal sexual assault and aggravated kidnapping.