CHARLESTON, S.C. — Police in Charleston, South Carolina, are working an “active shooter situation,” according to Charles Francis, a spokesman for the Charleston Police Department.
Police are asking people to avoid the area. An owner of a nearby boutique said the police activity is focused around Virginia’s on King, a restaurant in the heart of downtown.
King Street is currently closed between Calhoun and Morris Streets.
Employees working in the area near Virginia’s restaurant said they were on lockdown as authorities swarmed the area.
Dispatch said they got the initial call as a hostage situation involving a weapon.
Tom and Patsy Plant were eating lunch at Virginia’s with their daughter Laura among 15 to 20 people.
They said a man came from the kitchen with a loaded revolver in his left hand and announced “There’s a new boss in town.”
One customer ran out back door. The Plants followed the customer, leaving their stuff in the restaurant
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.”
“They (police) said there was an active shooter at they think Virginia’s,” said Doug Warner, a spokesman for Charleston Area Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.
Warner said that police came to the office and put the office on lock-down.