Aug. 24 (UPI) — Charleston, S.C., police said an “active shooter” shot and injured one person and took others hostage Thursday at a restaurant in a downtown area popular with tourists.
Officers shut down traffic and asked the public to avoid portions of the city near Virginia’s restaurant on King Street.
Diners at the restaurant told the Charleston Post and Courier an armed man dressed as kitchen staff walked to the front of the restaurant from the kitchen and locked the front door.
“I am the new king of Charleston,” he allegedly told the customers.
“This was not an act of terrorism,” Mayor John Tecklenburg said. “This was not a hate crime. This was a disgruntled employee.”
Two diners — Peter Siegert and his son, Peter Siegert IV — said the man told them to move to the back of the building, where some exited two side doors. The younger Siegert said he wasn’t sure if any other diners were still inside the restaurant.
The Charleston County Consolidated Dispatch told the Post and Courier they initially received a call about “a hostage situation involving a weapon.”