Man charged with killing chef at Charleston restaurant dies from injuries

Man charged with killing chef at Charleston restaurant dies from injuries
Anthony Shane Whiddon (Source: Holy City Hospitality)
Anthony Shane Whiddon (Source: Holy City Hospitality)
Source: Live 5
Source: Live 5
Source: Provided
Source: Provided
Source: Live 5
Source: Live 5

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The man charged with killing a chef at a Charleston restaurant earlier this year has died from injuries he sustained during the incident.

The Charleston County Coroner's Office says 54-year-old Thomas Burns died at Palmetto Health Richland on Thursday from complications of a gunshot wound that he sustained this past August at the Virginia's on King restaurant on 412 King St.

Investigators say Burns, who was fired from the restaurant, shot and killed 37-year-old Anthony Shane Whiddon of Goose Creek who was the executive chef at Virginia's.

According to Charleston police, Burns opened fire and was shot after a hostage standoff.

He was then transported to the Medical University of South Carolina for treatment and was listed in critical condition at the time.

The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division is continuing the investigation into the incident.

Police: Gunman opened fire, took hostages during lunch

On Aug. 24 around lunch time, law enforcement received a call about an emergency situation at the restaurant.

According to Charleston police officials, when officers arrived, they saw a wounded man inside and were able to get that person out of the building as well as several other patrons who were still inside.

Law enforcement then set up a perimeter around the restaurant and began to close nearby streets.

John Aquino, one of the representatives of the group that owns the restaurant, said Burns was a former dishwasher who was fired and came into the restaurant and shot Whiddon.

Patrons said they realized something was going on when they saw the staff run to the front of the restaurant.

"We didn't know what was happening, and the man that we now know as the shooter came from the back and said, 'There's a new boss in town,'" said Amy Sloan who was with her family inside the restaurant eating lunch at the time of the incident.

According to Sloan, the suspect then went to the front door, and it was at that point, Sloan could see the man holding a gun.

"He then turned around, then he told us to get on the ground," Sloan said."He probably repeated it two or three times."

Sloan said she thought it was a joke at first until she saw the gun.

"At this point it was very clear it was a very scary situation," Sloan said. "He told us to get out from the back."

Sloan, her family and the other patrons of the restaurant were able to leave the restaurant uninjured.

A photo from the scene shows the front door of the restaurant shattered.

Slain Charleston chef felt great responsibility to represent Southern food

Whiddon's death sent shock waves not only to the downtown Charleston neighborhood where he was well known but the restaurant community as well.

"We're a family, and anywhere there's hospitality it's a close-knit group of people,"said Gentry's Chef Marvin Wood."So anything like this always rocks us to the core. It's a family."

And that's how Whiddon viewed his fellow culinary colleagues.

"I think not misrepresenting Southern food is a big responsibility for everyone," Whiddon said in a 2016 interview."It's not just about putting your bacon in something and calling it 'Southern.' That's not what it's about."

What it was about was preserving as much of the heritage and integrity of everything Whiddon did in his cooking.

Whiddon was an advocate of supporting the local economy, and the best way for him to achieve that was to produce meals featuring the very best of the Lowcountry's ingredients.

"There's a great responsibility for us to keep that par where it needs to be and represent the South," Whiddon said.

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