Forced into a closet by inmates at Delaware's largest prison, Sgt. Steven Floyd called out to officers coming to his aid, warning them that inmates had set a trap—saving their lives with his final actions, union President Geoffrey Klopp says. Floyd was found dead early Thursday after authorities used a backhoe to smash through a barricade of footlockers and end a nearly 20-hour hostage standoff at the all-male, 2,500-prisoner James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna. Authorities did not immediately explain how Floyd, who last year received the warden's award for outstanding performance, died. They have said the inmates used "sharp instruments" to seize Building C and hold the 47-year-old hostage along with two other prison guards and a counselor.
Klopp says inmates staged a fight to lure Floyd, who radioed for help. They then turned on him, forcing him into the closet. The inmates eventually released two hostages and got authorities to turn the water back on, saying they needed it for drinking and washing. Instead, they filled up metal footlockers and built barricades. Floyd, a 16-year veteran with the prison, is the first Delaware corrections officer to be killed, according to Klopp. Isaiah McCoy, a former inmate at the prison, tells the AP that several prisoners who were in Building C called him while the standoff was underway. McCoy says the inmates told him they are sick of what he calls "inhumane" conditions at the facility, and that they had filed grievances and tried nonviolent protests but hadn't gotten anyone's attention. (Read more prison stories.)