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After Virginia's on King, local businesses train to recognize, prevent workplace violence

Virginia's on King Shooting Scene (WCIV)

Parts of the Charleston area are no stranger to gun violence, and after the recent situation at Virginia’s on King, the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office wants people to be prepared.

Tuesday marked the start of a three-day seminar to train employers on how to prevent, prepare for and react to workplace violence.

Thomas Gillan, an instructor for Training Force U.S.A, was in the Lowcountry back in 2015 after the tragedy at Emanuel AME Church. He was asked to come back after the shooting at Virginia’s.

His mission is to educate employers on how to protect themselves and their employees from tragedies like this.

“These are somethings that cause people to act out in some way in the workplace," Gillan says.

His mission is to create a safer work environment.

"That's where it all starts, hiring the right people making sure you do a background check on the person. Make sure you're doing drug screenings, make sure 2 people interview the potential candidate for the position," Gillan says.

As an instructor for Training Force U.S.A., Gillan travels around the country educating people on how to protect themselves. This seminar is geared towards anyone running a business.

"43% of executives these are the higher ranking business people, don't believe that this is an issue in their workplace, and my question is this can happen anywhere, what if it happens to your business are you prepared are your employees prepared?" Gillan asks.

Gillan says businesses need to be smart when hiring employees but also keep an eye out for any warning signs.

"The number one thing we look for is a change in behavior. Somebody changes, they're showing some sort of aggressive behavior that's what you're looking for,” Gillan says.

He also goes over how to fire employees. If the situation arises.

"There's a right way and a wrong way to do it. Don't put yourself your company or your employees at risk. If you're going to let somebody go, there's a special way of doing that," Gillan says.

The seminar comes after the tragic death of Shane Whiddon he was working at Virginia’s on King when a former employee came in and shot him. Chef Trey Dutton says he worked with Whiddon.

"It's a little closer to home now that someone I’ve worked with in the past who had a family and it makes me think about me and my family,” Dutton says.

Dutton says he's taking the skills he learned today back to One Kept where he works.

"Making sure that they feel treated respectfully because ultimately that's what takes people over the edge sometimes," Dutton says.

"Always try and prepare yourself. I'm not saying nothing is going to happen to you if you are prepared because anything can happen but it's better to be safe then totally sorry," Gillan says.

Classes are free and will be held tomorrow and Thursday at the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office.

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