Witness describes scene outside deadly Charleston restaurant shooting

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A Charleston man witnessed a deadly shooting and hostage situation at a popular King Street restaurant as it happened from across the street.

Morgan Mitchell works on the third floor of a building directly across from Virginia's on King.

He said it began like any other day, but said there was a shift just after noon.

"Police and other personnel were focusing in on Virginia's," he said. "We saw the yellow tape being put around."

Although police evacuated nearby areas his building, 409 King, stayed put.

"We were on the third floor so we thought it was best to lock the door, stay secure, and not enter into the environment," he said.

Watching through the window, they quickly realized the severity of the situation.

"You couldn't turn away," he said. "You wanted to see what was going on. We didn't have new information so we were just watching."

They watched as hostages left the building and as SWAT team members and EMS and fire personnel ran inside.

"I was kind of overwhelmed," he said. "It was evident all the first responders were calm, worked efficiently, were focused."

Mitchell says he is proud of the way local law enforcement handled Thursday's standoff.

"They were very focused. I could see that they were well trained and ready to react appropriately," Mitchell said. "Their training had them prepared, consolidated the chaos, didn't allow for additional casualties or injuries, and they were able to secure the shooter."

Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg praised first responders in a news conference after the hostage situation was over.

Charleston Police would not comment on their tactics, citing the ongoing investigation. But police did thank the community for their support.

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