Man taken into custody during Charleston shooting investigation released
CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - By Ray Rivera
A man who was taken into custody during the investigation into the shooting Wednesday night at a downtown Charleston church has been released.
Austin Rich says he was let go around 11:30 p.m. Rich, a local photographer, was interviewing people in the area of Calhoun and Meeting regarding the shooting.
According to Rich, he stopped at a gas station, and when he left the station, a police officer outside took him into custody because he resembled the description of the suspect sought.
Authorities then brought him to a hotel, interviewed him, and released him.
Rich said he bears no ill will against the police, and said,"They were just doing their job." He released the following statement on his Facebook page:
Tonight as many of you may already know I was detained as a suspect for the shooting that took place on downtown Charleston. I want to assure everyone that I am safe and innocent. I was interviewing strangers at the scene when I was mistaken as the shooter because of my grey t shirt, black pants and tan shoes. I was told to get on the ground with my hands up. I laid on my stomach, gentIy placing my camera on the ground. The officers rushed over to handcuff me. I told them to please be easy with my camera and gear as they picked me up off the ground. I understand that the officers were simply doing their job and they did it well. I was compliant and escorted across the street, to the Marriott Courtyard Hotel and then questioned. I gave them the details of where I was and who I was with. They asked several questions, checked my phone records and told me I was clear to go. I am thankful for the professionalism of the officers on duty, and have a tremendous amount of respect for them as well.
Rich says he was interviewing people for a photographic project he's been doing in Charleston.
The Charleston Police Department is continuing to search for the suspect involved in the shooting.
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