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Charleston shooting: hostage situation ends as police wound angry employee

An angry employee who killed one person in a crowded restaurant on Thursday has been shot and wounded by police to end a siege in Charleston, South Carolina.

Interim Charleston police chief Jerome Taylor said all the hostages at Virginia’s restaurant were rescued safely.

According to the city’s mayor, John Tecklenburg, the man who took the hostages is in critical condition. Tecklenburg said the restaurant employee shot by the gunman had died after the attack during a crowded lunchtime service.

Earlier in the day hostage negotiators were trying to talk to the man inside, Tecklenburg said at a news conference outside the restaurant on usually crowded King Street, a line of shops that caters to both tourists and residents in South Carolina’s largest and most historic city.

“This is not an act of terrorism. This is not a hate crime. It is a disgruntled employee,” Tecklenburg said.

Police spokesman Charles Francis said the employee had been holding a “couple” of hostages.

The shooting was reported shortly after noon on Thursday.

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.

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He said “I am the new king of Charleston”, according to the Siegerts, who added that the man told diners to get on the floor and move to the back of the restaurant. The Siegerts said they escaped out of a back door and did not know how many people were left behind.

Tom and Patsy Plant, who also escaped via a back door, told the Post and Courierthe man looked like “an ordinary grandpa, but he had a crazy look”.

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.

Read more at theguardian.com

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