Man accused of opening fire at Ladson pawn shop says 'actions were in poor choice'

Still image of the suspect inside the Ladson pawn shop (Source: BCSO)
Still image of the suspect inside the Ladson pawn shop (Source: BCSO)
Gregory Westfall (Source: BCSD)
Gregory Westfall (Source: BCSD)
Investigators on scene following shooting at pawn shop in Ladson (Source: Live 5 News)
Investigators on scene following shooting at pawn shop in Ladson (Source: Live 5 News)
Authorities investigating the incident. (Source: Live 5 News)
Authorities investigating the incident. (Source: Live 5 News)


A man accused of opening fire at a Ladson pawn shop told a judge that his actions "were in poor choice."

Gregory Franklin Westfall of Boise, Idaho faces two counts of attempted murder, armed robbery and possession of a weapon during a violent crime in connection to the Tuesday afternoon shooting at Big Buck's Pawn Shop on 113 College Park Rd.

He was denied bond Wednesday night and told the judge,"My actions were poor in choice. However, due to the circumstances of my life and the abuse that has been struck against me, I do rise in protest and I rise in violent protest."

An affidavit states that Wigfall planned the shooting with "the intent of causing social change."

Authorities also released surveillance video of the incident showing the shooting at the pawn shop where Westfall entered the store and asked to see an AR-15 rifle.

According to the sheriff's office, while inspecting the rifle, the suspect took out a loaded magazine that he had on him and inserted it into the AR-15.

"He then began to shoot into the store and at two of the employees inside of the store," BCSO officials said.

The owner of the pawn shop said the suspect fired inside and outside the business, but thankfully no one was injured.

A report states a store employee returned fire from his own firearm as the suspect fled the store.

Residents said they heard at least 15 shots during the incident.

"I heard a bunch of gun shots," said Kevin Gause who lives nearby."It seemed like it was World War II going on out here."

The video shows one of the employees looking out of the window and jumping to the floor after shots hit one of the store's windows.

Responding deputies eventually located Westfall in a wooded area behind the store.

"Then all of the sudden we see some guy come running through," Gause said."I saw the police and they tackled him over by the trailer, put him in handcuffs and put him in the car."

According to BCSO officials, Westfall still had the AR-15 in his possession and was wearing ballistic armor when deputies found him.

Sheriff Lewis said citizens did a good job of relaying information to dispatch crews regarding the suspect's description and where he was running to which helped deputies locate the suspect.

A report states when detectives interviewed Westfall, he made several statements regarding 9/11 and that 'the Russians' were sending him messages.

"He did make some statements to our detectives as he was being interviewed initially that the Russians had planted something inside of his head and he was trying to avenge that," Sheriff Lewis said.

According to investigators, the suspect left behind his Dodge Ram pickup truck and a book bag with unknown contents. The sheriff's office says Westfall had recently just moved to the Charleston area.

The Charleston County Bomb Squad was called to assist with clearing the contents of the truck and book-bag.

"Due to the nature of the incident and the things that Westfall was saying during the interview, the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives was called in for assistance as well as the Federal Bureau of Investigations," BCSO officials said.

Westfall was locked up at the Hill Finklea Detention Center.

There were no injuries reported in the incident.

"We are thankful that nobody was injured during this incident," Sheriff Lewis said."Thankfully citizens provided 911 with good information as the suspect tried to escape the area on foot. The assistance of our local and federal partners is also appreciated, we called them for some of their technical expertise and resources."

Westfall is expected to have a bond hearing on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at the detention center.

Witnesses earlier reported to Live 5 News that they saw a man fire multiple shots inside the pawn shop.

According to one witness, the man then fled to a trailer park behind the shopping center where he was detained by investigators.

Viewers called in Tuesday afternoon reporting a heavy police presence at the shopping center as deputies responded to the shooting.

Investigators remained on the scene throughout the night.

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