Records: Suspect in Charleston restaurant shooting ordered to undergo mental evaluation in 2010

Records: Suspect in Charleston restaurant shooting ordered to undergo mental evaluation in 2010
Thomas Burns

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The man charged in the shooting death of a downtown Charleston chef Thursday was ordered to undergo a mental evaluation in an earlier case, according to court records.

Thomas Demetrius Burns, 53, of Charleston, is charged with murder in the shooting death of 37-year-old Anthony Shane Whiddon, of Goose Creek, according to Al Cannon Detention Center records.

Police said Burns entered the back of the restaurant and shot Whiddon. He also ordered all of the diners in the restaurant out and held one person hostage for hours until a Charleston Police officer wounded him, Interim Police Chief Jerome Taylor said.

Burns was transported to MUSC where he was listed in critical condition immediately after the shooting. There has been no update on his condition provided since that time.

According to court records, Burns's life of crime began when he was a teenager. His rap sheet goes back to 1983 when a 19-year-old Burns was charged with armed robbery and assault and battery with intent to kill. According to court records, he was sentenced to 20 years but didn't serve the full sentence.

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.

He went back to prison in 2012 for robbery and assault and battery. Records show he didn't serve the entire eight-year sentence.

In 2015, Burns was put on probation in Charleston County for a petit larceny conviction. Since then, he has been arrested for failing to appear in court, shoplifting and loitering.

Burns remains in the hospital. If he recovers, he will be transported to jail.

There has been no word as of yet on a time for a bond hearing for the charge.

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