One person has been wounded and a hostage situation is in progress at a restaurant on King Street, a tourist area of Charleston. Multiple police units including SWAT and a bomb squad are on scene.
A man said to be an employee walked into Virginia’s restaurant with what’s described as a small-caliber revolver and declared something to the effect of “I am the new king of Charleston.” The gunman attempted to herd customers to the back of the restaurant and several escaped. Other restaurants have been evacuated and the street is closed down.
The scene is located only a few blocks from Emanuel AME Church, which suffered a mass shooting during a prayer meeting in 2015. Despite this, and current racial tensions nation-wide, Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg insists that the situation is a disgruntled employee and nothing more. “This was not an act of terrorism… This was not a hate crime,” said Mayor Tecklenburg.
Multiple descriptions have been given of the gunman, law enforcement have yet to confirm the identity of the gunman.
The situation is developing, updates to follow.
After a several hours of negotiation, an explosion was heard from inside the restaurant. Immediately following the blast, the gunman was shot and transported to a local hospital. No additional hostages have been reported to be harmed. The hostage who was shot at the onset of the incident is reported to have died at the hospital.
Images courtesy of Twitter.