Charleston Police have now identified a man accused of killing one employee at a popular downtown restaurant and taking another hostage before he was shot by responding officers Thursday.
Police identified 53-year-old Thomas Burns as a fired dishwasher at the Virginia’s on King restaurant. Police Chief Jerome Taylor said Burns shot and killed a man at the restaurant Thursday afternoon before holding another person hostage for about three hours. Taylor said the standoff ended when police shot Burns, who remains in critical condition.
The Charleston County Coroner’s Office identified the victim as 37-year-old Anthony Shane Whiddon of Goose Creek. Whiddon is listed as executive chef on the restaurant’s website. His online bio states he previously worked at the Charleston Grill and the Sea Island resort in Georgia.
“We are deeply saddened and heartbroken by what transpired (Thursday) at our restaurant Virginia’s on King,” Holy City Hospitality Management Director Marty Wall said in a statement. “We are devastated by the passing of Shane Whiddon, our beloved and well-respected chef and friend.”
Mayor John Tecklenburg says the last hostage was not hurt in the incident. Numerous witnesses told local media the shooter entered the restaurant and told them to get on the floor, before eventually allowing them to escape out a back door.
Police spokesman Charles Francis told reporters Whiddon was discovered by officers first arriving on the scene. Paramedics were able to get him to a hospital while the standoff was still happening, although the chef did not survive.