Tecklenburg said the situation is not being considered an act of terrorism or a hate crime.
The man then locked the front door and asked the people inside to get down and move towards the back of the restaurant. The younger Siegert said he wasn't sure if any other diners were still inside the restaurant.
Restaurant patrons Tom and Patsy Plant said a man, presumably the suspect, entered the restaurant with a gun before saying, "There's a new boss in town", The Post and Courier reported.
"They (police) said there was an active shooter at they think Virginia's", said Doug Warner, a spokesman for Charleston Area Convention and Visitor's Bureau. Patsy Plant told the paper he looked like "an ordinary grandpa, but he had a insane look".
The Charleston County Consolidated Dispatch told the Post and Courier they initially received a call about "a hostage situation involving a weapon".
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Police later came to the salon and told people to evacuate. "They are blocking off the whole block", Sarah Cobb, owner of MOSA boutique, told CNN.
An owner of a nearby boutique said the police activity is focused around the restaurant. Police carried a body out, but she couldn't see who it was or if there was blood.
Charleston Police deployed SWAT teams and a bomb squad unit to the area, while warning people nearby to stay inside buildings or leave the area.
It was not immediately clear where the employee worked.
Charleston Police tweeted that an area between Calhoun and Morris Streets is blocked to drivers and pedestrian traffic. The gunman remains inside the restaurant with two hostages, according to Charleston Police spokesman Charles Francis.
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