There are reports of an active shooter at Virginia’s on King, a restaurant in downtown Charleston, South Carolina by a gunman who allegedly proclaimed “there’s a new boss in town.”
The Post and Courier also quoted other witnesses as saying the “older black man wearing an apron and dressed like a kitchen staff member walked through the front door holding a small caliber revolver. He locked the door and said ‘I am the new king of Charleston.'”
The restaurant’s chef, Shane Whiddon, was murdered in the attack. There is a GoFundMe site to help his family.
The Post and Courier also reported that one person was shot and under rushed to the hospital, while hostages remained “trapped” with the gunman inside the popular establishment. The mayor told the newspaper that the suspect was a disgruntled employee and that terrorism was not involved.
Dramatic photos from the scene 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. Other photos showed armed police at the scene. You can watch live video reports here.
“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.
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.'”
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.