CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — A fired dishwasher shot and killed a chef and held a person hostage for about three hours before he was shot by police at a crowded restaurant in a tourist-heavy area of downtown Charleston on Thursday, authorities and one of the restaurant’s owners said.
The hostage was freed unharmed, Mayor John Tecklenburg said. The shooting took place at Virginia’s restaurant on the usually crowded King Street, a row of shops and nice dining that caters to both tourists and residents in South Carolina’s largest and most historic city.
Tecklenburg quickly said the shooting was “the act of a disgruntled employee” and not a terrorist attack or a hate crime in a city where nine black church members were killed by a white man two years ago.
“This was a tragic case of a disturbed individual, I think, with a history of some mental health challenges,” Tecklenburg said at a news conference.
Authorities did not release the names of the gunman or the employee he killed. They initially said they believed there were “a couple” or a “small number” of hostages.
The shooting was reported shortly after noon Thursday.
Peter Siegert IV and his family from Galesville, Maryland, had just been served fried chicken at the restaurant when he noticed waitresses and kitchen workers leaving hurriedly through the front door. Then he saw a man in a backward ball cap and an apron enter the dining room from the back of the restaurant.
“He said, ‘There’s a new boss in town,'” Siegert told The…