UPDATE: Mayor Tecklenburg confirms that one person has died in Charleston shooting earlier today. The suspect has been shot and taken to a nearby hospital in critical condition.
Chaos is reigning in downtown Charleston, South Carolina as an active shooter situation at a restaurant is being investigated by the police. The suspect appears to be a "disgruntled employee" who came to his place of work and shot one person while holding others hostage on-site.
As reported by CNN, Mayor John Tecklenburg said, "This is not an act of terrorism. This is not a hate crime. It's a disgruntled employee who has come on the scene of his employment."
The identity of the suspect, as well as of the person he shot and the condition of the victim has not been released yet. It is also still unknown at this moment how many hostages are being held inside the restaurant, but Charles Francis, a spokesperson for the Charleston police, confirmed that there are people trapped inside the location with the shooter.
As of this moment, the area surrounding Virginia's — the restaurant where the shooting occurred — is still being guarded by Charleston police and SWAT teams as this is still considered an active shooter situation.
"Right now the streets are full of SWAT and police and people heavily armed. They are blocking off the whole block," said Sarah Cobb, owner of a nearby boutique who has been witnessing the events as they have unfolded.Nearby businesses have also been evacuated to avoid possible casualties.
Even though the name of the suspect has not been released yet, employees of the restaurant have said that he is a dishwasher at Virginia's. The motive for the shooting is still unclear, though.While the shooter let some people leave the restaurant, it is safe to say that he retained a few hostages — possibly employees at the restaurant — to secure his own position and avoid being shot by police officers and SWAT team members.
If you don't have to be there, it is still recommended that you avoid the area for the time being. In a few moments, Charleston officials are expected to give a press conference informing the public of the situation and possibly identify the shooter and the victim. Stay tuned for updates to come after the press conference.
[Featured Image by Carso80/iStockPhoto]