An angry employee shot one person and took control of a crowded restaurant on Thursday during lunchtime in downtown Charleston, South Carolina. He is currently holding a “couple” of other hostages, according to authorities. One person has been confirmed dead.
Update (8/24/17; 3:22 P.M. EST): The shooter has been shot and is currently in critical condition at a local hospital.
As a result of today’s shooting and hostage situation, King Street between Calhoun and Morris streets is blocked off to vehicle and pedestrian traffic. Hostage negotiators are currently trying to speak with the shooter and negotiate a way for him to release the hostages without further incident.
“This is not an act of terrorism. This is not a hate crime. It is a disgruntled employee,” said Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg.
Police spokesman Charles Francis said at a news conference said that the shooter has taken a “couple” of hostages, but didn’t say how many. The spokesman also didn’t give any details regarding the status of the shooting victim.
The shooting occurred on Thursday shortly after noon. The shooter is believed to be a disgruntled employee who works in one of the business on the busy street. The hostage crisis is taking place inside Virginia’s restaurant. However, it isn’t confirmed if that is also the location of the shooting.
Two witnesses said that right after employees left without saying a word, a man walked out of the kitchen with a gun and locked the door. Peter Siegert, 73, and his son Peter Siegert IV, 45, were quoted by The Post and Courier of Charleston were interviewed and gave details on the incident.
He said, “‘I am the new king of Charleston,'” the Siegerts said.
The witnesses reported that the armed man instructed diners to get on the ground and move to the back of the restaurant. The Siegert’s reported escaping out the back door, but didn’t know how many hostages escaped.
Charleston Police reacted to the situation by sending SWAT teams and a bomb disposal unit to the area. Authorities told any one who is outside to leave the area and for people inside to stay inside.
The shooting happened within the 400 block of King Street.