Dozens of police officers were rushing to downtown Charleston on Thursday after police reported a possible “active shooter situation” near a stretch of restaurants and shops popular with tourists.

The shooting was reported just after noon on King Street, police spokesman Charles Francis said in a statement. He did not say whether they were any injuries or give any description of a suspect.

Tom and Patsy Plant told the Post and Courier of Charleston they were eating at Virginia’s restaurant and saw a man come out of the kitchen with a gun in his hand and say, “There’s a new boss in town.”

The man looked like “an ordinary grandpa, but he had a crazy look,” the couple said. They were able to escape out a back door.

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.

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 June 2015 Bible study. Dylann Roof was sentenced to death in the case.


10:56 a.m.: Updated with additional details on the shooter

This story was originally posted at 10:30 a.m.

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