Charleston hostage situation over; gunman wounded

NBC News

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — The mayor says a hostage situation in a Charleston, South Carolina restaurant has ended with the gunman being shot by police.

Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg said the restaurant employee shot by the gunman Thursday has died.

Interim Charleston Police Chief Jerome Taylor says all the hostages at Virginia’s restaurant were rescued safely. He didn’t say how many there were.

Tecklenburg says the man who took the hostages is in critical condition.

Authorities did not release the names of the gunman or the man killed.

Hostage negotiators were trying to talk to the man inside Virginia’s, Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg said at a news conference outside the restaurant, located on usually crowded King Street, a line of shops and nice dining that caters to both tourists and residents in South Carolina’s largest and most historic city.

Peter Siegert, 73, and his son Peter Siegert IV, 45, were quoted by The Post and Courier of Charleston as saying that just after several waitresses and kitchen workers walked out the door without saying a word, a man in an apron with a gun came out of the kitchen and locked the front door.

He said, “‘I am the new king of Charleston,’” the Siegerts said.

The man told diners to get on the floor and move to the back of the restaurant. The Siegerts said they escaped out a back door and didn’t know how many people were left behind.

Charleston Police sent SWAT teams and a bomb disposal unit to the area. Authorities instructed people inside to stay inside and those outside to leave the area.

The site is a few blocks away from Emanuel AME church, where nine black members of a church were killed by a white man during a June 2015 Bible study. Dylann Roof was sentenced to death in the case.

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