CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – 10 people were injured and four remain in critical condition in what Mayor John Tecklenburg called a “mass shooting” in downtown Charleston late Monday night.
“The Gun Violence Archive defines a mass shooting as being an incident where four or more are shot, either injured or killed; thankfully, and we’re counting our blessings that no one in this incident was killed, although I’m told 10 were shot and four are still in critical condition and we are praying for them, but per that definition, we have here in Charleston a mass shooting,” said Mayor Tecklenburg.
Charleston Police Chief Luther Reynolds said an officer responded to a noise complaint along South Street late Monday night where several people were gathered for a party.
The responding officer immediately took gunfire, according to Chief Reynolds, which included two shots into the officer’s cruiser. “We’re lucky we don’t have a dead cop. Or dead citizens. Or dead community members,” he said.
Chief Reynolds said the officer was taken to an area hospital after being injured by shrapnel. He was treated and eventually released.
Sgt. Elisabeth Wolfsen, a spokeswoman for the Charleston Police Department, said earlier in the morning that multiple people were struck by gunfire and were being treated at area hospitals. The extent of injuries, at the time, was unknown.
Security video obtained by News 2 showed dozens of people running for cover while the sound of repeated gunfire can be heard in the background.
Several cars in the area were struck by gunfire, according to police. And we now know that ten people were injured. It remains unclear how many of those injuries were by gunfire.
Chief Reynolds said the crime scene spans several blocks. Investigators remained on scene throughout the day.
He said law enforcement agencies from across the Lowcountry responded to assist the Charleston Police Department during the incident and offered his thanks for the partnership. The chief also vowed to make arrests in this shooting.
Among those responding to provide assistance to CPD was the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office. Several deputies were assigned to crowd control, during which two deputies were assaulted by members of the crowd, resulting in minor injuries of the deputies.
Two people – members of the crowd – were arrested for assaulting the deputies.
“One person swung at a deputy, striking the deputy in the face. The deputy was later treated for facial injuries. Another deputy was knocked to the ground by a member of the crowd. The deputy suffered cuts to the head and arm,” said Andrew Knapp, a spokesman for the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office.
According to a report from the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office, officers were being “physically fought” by several people in the area of Mary and Nassau Streets. Ayesha McGee immediately engaged with the deputy while verbally berating them for attempting to secure the scene.
“Ayesha then approached and attempted to body slam my body to the ground with her body,” the CCSO report stated. They said the woman was successful in knocking the deputy to the ground, but she was restrained by other officers.
“My head hit the concrete during the fall, leaving a 2-3 inch laceration on the rear of my head,” the deputy wrote.
The other individual arrested, Tahira McGee, struck a CCSO deputy across the face after becoming “enraged,” according to another report.
Tahira McGee of North Charleston is being charged with second-degree assault and battery and resisting arrest while Ayesha Saleemah McGee of North Charleston is being charged with third-degree assault and battery.
No deputies were injured by gunfire.
Mayor Tecklenburg, who was visibly angry during Tuesday’s press conference, detailed an 8-point plan to combat the ongoing gun violence in the area and said he will ask Charleston City Council for an accountability measure for landlords. He will also ask state lawmakers for legislation related to guns.