Mayor releases statement on Charleston restaurant shooting - Live5News.com | Charleston, SC | News, Weather, Sports

Mayor releases statement on Charleston restaurant shooting

Mayor John Tecklenburg spoke to reporters Thursday shortly after the restaurant shooting. (Source: Live 5) Mayor John Tecklenburg spoke to reporters Thursday shortly after the restaurant shooting. (Source: Live 5)
Thomas Burns (Source: Al Cannon Detention Center) Thomas Burns (Source: Al Cannon Detention Center)
Shane Whiddon (Source: The Southern Weekend) Shane Whiddon (Source: The Southern Weekend)

Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg issued a statement Friday afternoon on the deadly shooting at a popular downtown restaurant.

The statement read:

“Like so many others in our community, Sandy and I were deeply saddened yesterday by the senseless murder of Anthony Shane Whiddon, and by the terrible trauma inflicted on the patrons and staff of Virginia's restaurant. Our prayers are with Shane's family and friends, and with everyone else touched by this dreadful incident.

In addition, I'd like to thank our local, state and national partners for their invaluable assistance yesterday. College of Charleston Public Safety, Charleston County Sheriff’s Office, Charleston County EMS, SLED, North Charleston Police, ATF and FBI were all quick to come to our aid. Timely calls from Gov. McMaster and the White House, as well as Sheriff Cannon’s presence on the scene, were also greatly appreciated.

Even more, it was a genuine honor to work side-by-side in the command center with the remarkable men and women of the Charleston Police and Fire Departments. The people of Charleston are lucky to have such highly skilled officers working to keep us safe. They truly are dedicated public servants, and the professionalism and valor they displayed yesterday will not be forgotten.

Finally, as always, I continue to be inspired by the way our community comes together during and following a tragedy. The love and support I’ve seen from residents and the local restaurant community to the Whiddon family and everyone at Virginia’s demonstrates once again what a special place Charleston is.”

The shooting happened at approximately 12:17 p.m. Thursday at Virginia's on King Street, authorities say.

Tecklenburg arrived on the scene early into the crisis and remained visible throughout the hostage situation that followed the shooting, leading news conferences that updated police efforts to negotiate with the gunman, who has since been identified as 53-year-old Thomas Burns.

He also spoke after the suspect in the incident was wounded by a Charleston Police officer and transported to a hospital.

"This was not a terrorist act, this was not a hate crime," Tecklenburg said Thursday afternoon in the aftermath of the incident. "This was a case, a tragic case, of a disgruntled individual, I think, with a history of some mental health challenges who took his anger into his own hands."

In April 2010, a circuit judge ordered a mental evaluation for Burns, who was described as having schizophrenia and repeatedly accusing defense counsel of working against him in court records.

In that case, Burns faced charges of selling heroin to an undercover officer, a charge to which he pleaded guilty, court records state.

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