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 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.
The gunman killed Virginia’s executive chef, 37-year-old Anthony Shane Whiddon, deputy Charleston County coroner Sheila Williams said late 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.
The man told all the customers to get onto the floor, Siegert said, then directed them to crawl to the back of the restaurant – w the rear exits remained unlocked.
One of the restaurant’s owners, John Aquino, told WCSC-TV that a dishwasher who had been fired came back to the restaurant and shot a chef to get revenge.
The restaurant was packed with a lunchtime crowd and the first officers to arrive were able to get the man who was shot and a number of diners out safely, interim Charleston Police Chief Jerome Taylor said.
The site is a few blocks away from Emanuel AME church, w nine black members of a church were killed by a white man during a June 2015 Bible study.