Neighbor says slain Charleston chef ‘just a gem’

Shane Whiddon

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD/AP) – A neighbor of the chef killed at a restaurant in downtown Charleston says he was “just a gem” who found time to help others even as he worked long hours and raised a family.

Terri Thomas Wall wept in an interview Friday as she remembered 37-year-old Shane Whiddon. Authorities say the executive chef of Virginia’s restaurant was shot dead Thursday by a dishwasher who had been fired.

Police shot the suspect, later identified as Thomas Demetrius Burns, 53, of Charleston, critically wounding him.

RELATED: Virginia’s on King Shooting Complete Coverage

Wall said Whiddon “would leave early in the morning and not come home until late at night” for his job. She said he loved to fish and play outside with his young sons on days off. Wall said Whiddon had always been quick to offer neighborly help starting a lawnmower or fixing a stubborn water spigot.

Mayor Tecklenburg released the following statement in the aftermath of the events at Virginia’s on King restaurant:

Like so many others in our community, Sandy and I were deeply saddened yesterday by the senseless murder of Anthony Shane Whiddon, and by the terrible trauma inflicted on the patrons and staff of Virginia’s restaurant. Our prayers are with Shane’s family and friends, and with everyone else touched by this dreadful incident.

In addition, I’d like to thank our local, state and national partners for their invaluable assistance yesterday. College of Charleston Public Safety, Charleston County Sheriff’s Office, Charleston County EMS, SLED, North Charleston Police, ATF and FBI were all quick to come to our aid. Timely calls from Gov. McMaster and the White House, as well as Sheriff Cannon’s presence on the scene, were also greatly appreciated.

Even more, it was a genuine honor to work side-by-side in the command center with the remarkable men and women of the Charleston Police and Fire Departments. The people of Charleston are lucky to have such highly skilled officers working to keep us safe. They truly are dedicated public servants, and the professionalism and valor they displayed yesterday will not be forgotten.

Finally, as always, I continue to be inspired by the way our community comes together during and following a tragedy. The love and support I’ve seen from residents and the local restaurant community to the Whiddon family and everyone at Virginia’s demonstrates once again what a special place Charleston is.

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