Police investigate reports of gunman at Charleston, S.C., restaurant

Bystanders wait at a perimeter set up by local police after reports of a man armed with a handgun was holding hostages at a restaurant in downtown Charleston, South Carolina, August 24, 2017. (REUTERS/Harriet McLeod)
Bystanders wait at a perimeter set up by local police after reports of a man armed with a handgun was holding hostages at a restaurant in downtown Charleston, South Carolina, August 24, 2017. (REUTERS/Harriet McLeod)

CHARLESTON, S.C. — Police in Charleston, South Carolina, were investigating an active shooter situation at a restaurant in the city’s downtown shopping district on Thursday and people were told to avoid the area.

A section of King Street was blocked to cars and pedestrians due to the situation, Charleston Police spokesman Charles Francis said. Few other details were immediately available.

The local Post and Courier newspaper reported that a man brandishing a pistol walked into the restaurant, Virginia’s On King, while about 15 to 20 people were eating lunch. There were no immediate reports of shots fired, nor injuries.

The newspaper quoted a couple, Tom and Patsy Plant, who said they were eating with their daughter Laura when the man walked in from the kitchen and said, “There’s a new boss in town.”

The Plants, who said they fled with other customers through a back door, described the suspect as a black man in his late 50s. Patsy Plant told the paper he looked like “an ordinary grandpa, but he had a crazy look. It was very crazy.”

An owner of a nearby boutique told CNN the streets were full of heavily armed police SWAT teams. “They are blocking off the whole block,” Sarah Cobb, owner of MOSA boutique, told CNN.

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