The man who entered a restaurant in Charleston, South Carolina, on Thursday and shot the chef yelled, “There’s a new boss in town,” according to one woman who was dining with her son at the time of the incident.
Amy Sloan said she was with her son, James Siegert, at Virginia’s on King Street in downtown Charleston when a disgruntled former employee stormed the establishment armed with a gun.
Sloan, who was visiting from Maryland, said she didn’t know what was happening at first. Moments later, Sloan said the gunman turned around and told customers to get on the ground,” WCSC-TV reported.
The shooter later told patrons inside the restaurant to “get out from the back,” Sloan said. At one point, he shouted, “there’s a new boss in town.” Sloan, her son and other customers escaped the restaurant shortly afterward.
— Ray Rivera (@RayRiveraChs) August 24, 2017
Police in Charleston said the gunman shot 37-year-old executive chef Anthony Shane Whiddon and took another person hostage. Authorities showed up at the restaurant just minutes after receiving a call around noon.
Officers cordoned off the surrounding area and nearby schools were placed on lockdown. Whiddon was taken to a nearby hospital where he later died. Whiddon leaves behind a wife and two children.
Anthony Shane Whiddon was killed in today’s shooting at Virginia’s on King pic.twitter.com/LCJF0p6xBl
— Lisa Weismann (@LisaLive5) August 25, 2017
Eventually, officers entered the restaurant and opened fire on the shooter, who was taken to to Medical University of South Carolina for treatment.
A Charleston Police spokesman identified the shooter as Thomas Demetrius Burns, 53, of Charleston. Burns was shot by Charleston Police after a hostage standoff, according to Interim Police Chief Jerome Taylor. He was listed in critical condition Thursday afternoon.
The identity of the individual who was held hostage during the situation was not immediately clear.
John Aquino, a representative for Holy City Hospitality, the company that owns Virginia’s on King, told WCSC-TV that Burns used to work at the restaurant but that he “got fired.”
Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg released a statement Thursday denying that what happened was a terrorist act or hate crime.
“This was a case, a tragic case, of a disgruntled individual, I think, with a history of some mental health challenges who took his anger into his own hands,” Tecklenburg said, WCSC-TV reported.
WCSC-TV reporter Sydney Ryan tweeted out a photo Thursday of the exterior of the restaurant. The front door, made of glass, appeared shattered.
— Sydney Ryan (@SydneyLive5) August 24, 2017
(H/T: Fox News)