Dozens of police officers are rushing to downtown Charleston, South Carolina, after police reported a possible "active shooter situation" near a stretch of restaurants and shops popular with tourists.
He says that this was not a hate crime.
Mayor Tecklenburg says the man who took the hostages is in critical condition.
The suspect is described as a disgruntled employee inside Virginia's Restaurant in downtown Charleston.
A witness said they were eating at the restaurant when the gunman ordered everyone out and yelled, "There's a new boss in town".
At least one person was wounded after a disgruntled employee opened fire at a SC restaurant.
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At least one person was shot and killed and another was injured, police said, according to Fox News, citing the city's mayor. One diner, Patsy Plant, told the paper the armed man looked like a "grandpa" but had 'a insane look.
Police are asking people to avoid the area. "This was a disgruntled employee".
Police negotiators are attempting to negotiate with the shooter, Tecklenburg said.
Virginia's is located only a few blocks away from Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, where Dylan Roof gunned down 9 black members in June 2015.
The shooter remains inside the building with "a couple hostages", according to Francis.