The Post and Courier is reporting an active shooter situation unfolding in a busy area of downtown Charleston, SC. Police spokesman Charles Francis says the popular tourist spot, King Street, is closed between Calhoun and Morris streets. According to reports, an older African-American man, armed with a .38 revolver is inside Virginia’s restaurant.
Peter Siegert and his son, Peter Siegert IV, both from Maryland, were eating at Virginia’s when they saw two waitresses and three kitchen staff members walk through the restaurant and out the front door. After that, the witnesses say an older black man wearing an apron and dressed like a kitchen staff member walked through the front door holding a small caliber revolver.
He allegedly locked the door and said, “I am the new king of Charleston.” There were approximately thirty people dining in Virginia’s at the time the man walked in. He told everyone to get down and move to the back of the building. Some of the diners were able to escape out of the back exit doors, including Mr. Siegert and his son.
“We did not want to give him a good target,” the younger Siegert said. He apparently was the last person out in the group but did not know if others were still inside. Police officers securing the scene said they did know when patrons would be allowed back inside to collect their personal items.
Tom and Patsy Plant were also having lunch at the restaurant with their daughter when the chaos broke out. They confirmed that the suspect came from the kitchen with a gun saying “there is a new boss in town.” They described the gunman as being in his late 50s. “He looked like “an ordinary grandpa, but he had a crazy look, said Patsy. “It was very crazy.”
The Charleston PD bomb squad unit is on scene along with SWAT. It is has been reported that one person has been shot and several hostages remain in the building. Police are asking everyone to stay away from the area until the situation is resolved.
We will keep you updated on the situation.