NATIONAL NEWS

Correctional officer at St. Louis jail freed after being held hostage by inmates

Aug 22, 2023, 9:23 AM

The St. Louis police SWAT team gathers in front of the city jail in downtown St. Louis, known as th...

The St. Louis police SWAT team gathers in front of the city jail in downtown St. Louis, known as the City Justice Center, after a guard was reportedly taken hostage on Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2023. (Robert Cohen/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(Robert Cohen/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP)

ST. LOUIS (AP) — A guard was abducted Tuesday by inmates at a downtown St. Louis jail, but was freed hours later.

The St. Louis Department of Public Safety confirmed the correctional officer was freed but didn’t provide any information about the abduction or whether he was injured. An afternoon news conference is scheduled to discuss the attack — the latest of several acts of violence inside the jail that holds nearly 700 inmates.

Police reported the guard’s abduction just after 6 a.m. on the fourth floor of the City Justice Center.

Detectives told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the officer was a 70-year-old man who didn’t have a weapon when he was taken hostage. Medics brought a man wearing a guard’s uniform out on a stretcher about 8:30 a.m. The newspaper reported that he was conscious but looked haggard.

It wasn’t clear what prompted the abduction, but advocates for inmates have long complained about conditions at the jail. It was the site of three uprisings among inmates between late 2020 and early 2021.

In February 2021, inmates set fires, caused flooding, broke out fourth-floor windows and tossed chairs and other items through the broken glass. A guard also was attacked.

Inmates again broke windows and set a fire during another riot in April 2021. A month later, Dale Glass, the embattled director of the jail, resigned.

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Correctional officer at St. Louis jail freed after being held hostage by inmates