Friends of fallen Lee Correctional inmate speak out

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Eddie Gaskins was one of seven inmates who died inside Lee Correctional Institute on Sunday night during fights that broke out.

"Eddie Gaskins, that's our family," Karlinda Myers said. "He's family to us. And I'm just still shaking my head. I just don't believe it."

Karlinda Myers and her brother William say they've both known Eddie for about 20 years.

"Me and Eddie, we're like brothers, man," William Myers said. "We did a lot together. He used to come to the house. I would cut his hair, he spent the night with me a few nights, go fishing, hunting."

Of all the seven inmates who were killed in the fights, Gaskins is the only one who had no disciplinary record.

He was admitted to Lee Correctional on Dec. 15, 2017.

He was convicted of first degree domestic violence in Berkeley County.

"Like I said, everybody goes through their struggles in life, but Eddie was a good dude," William said. "I don't think he deserved to go out this way."

For William, Eddie's death hits especially close to home.

He had just heard from Eddie less than a month ago.

"Yeah, about three weeks ago I got a letter in the mail from him just telling me how much he loved me and my mom and he can't wait to get back home and just how much he missed us," William said. "My heart is broken right now. I'm just at a loss for words."

State officials said in a press conference on Monday that the guards let the fight last for several hours because they had to wait until it was safe for them to enter the living areas.

But Karlinda said she feels like they could have intervened sooner.

"I mean it's like nonsense," Karlinda said. "It makes no sense to me."

The incident at Lee Correctional Institute is still under investigation by authorities.

Copyright 2018 WCSC. All rights reserved.