1 dead, suspect in critical condition after King Street hostage situation

Police officers with rifles drawn cover behind a streetside dumpster with their weapons trained on the upstairs portion of Virginia’s on King restaurant. (Provided/Robbie Kimbrough)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) - Mayor John Tecklenburg stood before churches and cameras in the Holy City Thursday afternoon and shared one person was dead as a result of a shooting and hostage situation at a popular downtown restaurant.

That shooting victim was later identified as Anthony Shane Whiddon, 37, of Goose Creek. He was transported to MUSC where he was pronounced dead.

Charleston County Deputy Coroner Shiela Williams says Whiddon served as Executive Chef of Virginia's on King.

The mayor said the suspect, a disgruntled employee of Virginia's on King, was shot.

"We do ask our community’s prayers for one family today, because one person has been killed today," Mayor Tecklenburg said.

King Street between Calhoun and Morris streets was blocked to vehicle and pedestrian traffic as multiple law enforcement agencies worked the scene.

"Those officers who first arrived on the scene did a heroic job," Charleston County Sheriff Al Cannon said. Cannon was speaking specifically about the work to remove patrons and workers at the restaurant.

Charleston Police Department Interim Chief Jerome Taylor said the suspect was shot by City of Charleston Police officers. He said a loud bang heard earlier in the afternoon, feared to be a gunshot, was a grenade used as a distraction.

"This was a tragic case of a disgruntled individual," the mayor said of the suspect.

A witness on a rooftop patio said he watched police block the street, hide out and duck down behind cars.

"I got a little bit nervous. I didn't know what was going on," he said.

"Chaotic" is a common word by those we came across at the scene. We spoke to some who said they were in the business at the time and forced to crawl out on their stomachs. One woman said she had a gun pointed at her belly by the suspect.

"This is not the way society is supposed to be," another witness in the area said.

Police described the situation as dangerous. Officers were initially dispatched at 12:17 p.m. and worked the scene for about 12 hours.

Classes at Charleston School of Law were temporarily put on hold and law enforcement helicopters circled the area. Marion Square was emptied. Police pushed the perimeter back farther and farther until around 3 p.m. when the situation seemed to be resolved.

Check back with ABC News 4 as we continue to follow this story.

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