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A ‘disgruntled employee’ who shot one person dead and held several hostages in a restaurant in Charleston has been shot by police, US authorities said.
The gunman is said to be in a critical condition after he was gunned down by officers, having taken people hostage in Virginia’s restaurant in the tourist area of the South Carolina town.
Mayor John Tecklenburg confirmed that the hostage situation was over and the diners rescued, but that one employee at the restaurant had died after being shot by the gunman.
Mr Tecklenburg had earlier told reporters at a news conference that the shooting was not an act of terrorism or racism and that the shooter was a “disgruntled employee”.
A section of King Street, in the city’s central commercial district, was closed off by police. Reports of the shooting first emerged at about 12.15pm local time on Thursday.
Police are treating the incident as an active hostage situation, with 30 people reportedly in the restaurant when the gunman was first reported to police.
Local media said that diners from the restaurant claimed a man entered with a pistol saying “I am the new king of Charleston”.
Another witness added that the shooter said “There’s a new boss in town.”
Images have emerged showing bomb squad members and SWAT team officers storming the restaurant.
Interim Charleston Police Chief Jerome Taylor says all the hostages at Virginia’s restaurant were rescued safely, but did not confirm how many there were.
Sarah Cobb, owner of a nearby boutique, told CNN: “Right now the streets are full of SWAT and police and people heavily armed. They are blocking off the whole block.”
City of Charleston, posted on Facebook: “Charleston County Dispatch received a call today at 12:17 p.m. in reference to a shooting within the 400 block of King Street. One shooting victim was transported to the hospital, but there is no update on their condition at this time.
“There are a small number of hostages inside the building with the shooter. Police crisis negotiators are on scene attempting to negotiate with the shooter.
“The situation is ongoing, so individuals are being advised to avoid the area.
“The shooter is known to be a disgruntled employee.”
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 Bible study in June 2015.
London News & Search