There are reports of an active shooter at Virginia’s on King, a restaurant in downtown Charleston, South Carolina, and The Post and Courier says two eyewitnesses claimed the gunman announced “There’s a new boss in town” and another said the shooter declared himself a king.
People were trapped inside as hostages of the gunman, and one person had been shot in what the mayor attributed a situation with a disgruntled employee, not terrorism, according to the Post and Courier. The gunman was shot, the mayor said, and is in critical condition.
Watch live video:
Tom and Patsy Plant were eating lunch at Virginia’s and told the Post and Courier that “a man came from the kitchen with a loaded revolver in his left hand and announced ‘There’s a new boss in town.'” The Plants told the newspaper that they ran out the door along with another customer, and they “described gunman as black man in his late 50s. Patsy said he looked like ‘an ordinary grandpa, but he had a crazy look. It was very crazy.'”
Here’s another livestream from the scene:
Some videos also emerged of the scene.
One man wrote that police said people were in danger of being hit by a bullet as they evacuated.
Dramatic photos were also posted to social media from the scene, and they showed a massive police response, although authorities were releasing little information in the still unfolding incident on August 24. There were also unconfirmed reports of hostages. One photo showed the glass smashed out of a door to the restaurant, which was identified as Virginia’s on King. Other photos showed armed police at the scene.
Police confirmed the active shooter reports.
“Officer Charles Francis with the Charleston Police Department says emergency officials are responding to an active shooter situation within the 400 block of King Street Thursday afternoon,” Fox Charleston reported.
SWAT officers also responded to the scene.
A helicopter was flying overhead.
The Post and Courier reported that Francis is the police spokesman.
“They (police) said there was an active shooter at they think Virginia’s,” Doug Warner, a spokesman for Charleston Area Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, told the newspaper.
People were asked to avoid the area.
“King Street between Calhoun and Morris is blocked off to vehicle and pedestrian traffic because of an active shooter situation within the 400 block of King Street,” ABC News reported.
Witnesses described police locking down offices and saw at least 10 squad cars rushing to the scene.