A routine call to break up a post-Sertoma crowd at a downtown McDonald's turned ugly Friday night when shots were fired in the direction of police officers.
Suddnely, more than a dozen squad cars swarmed the intersection of Spring Street and Hagood Avenue, according to onlookers. Police remained on the scene for several hours.
By the time all returned to normal, four handguns had been recovered and a 16-year-old male was arrested on a weapons charge, Charleston Police spokesman Charles Francis in a news release issued Saturday.
No injuries were reported, and it was not known for certain that the shooters were aiming at police, but a bullet did strike the McDonald's building just a few feet from where officers were standing, the release said.
The incident began about 10 p.m., when police were called to McDonald's to help disperse a crowd that had gathered after the Sertoma Classic, the release said.
When officers arrived, the manager asked them to disperse the crowd, the release said. While police were trying to get people to leave, shots were fired from the parking lot of the Taco Bell across the street. One of those shots struck the McDonald's building.
No arrests have been made in connection with that shooting and it is still under investigation, Francis said.
A witness told police he saw a male fire a weapon from the parking lot of Taco Bell and run west toward Hagood Avenue. The witness told police the male was wearing a black, collared shirt with some type of logo on it. That description was broadcast to officers in the area. One of the officers saw a male matching that description on Ashton Street and ran after him, but the officer lost sight of the male. A police dog was used to search for the suspect and during that search, a handgun was found behind a residence on Ashton Street, the release said.
Aided by the police dog, officers also searched the Taco Bell parking lot and found a handgun covered with pine straw under some shrubbery. Officers continued to search the parking lot for more weapons and shell casings. A shell casing was found near a car in the parking lot. The officers looked inside that car and saw a handgun on the front passenger floorboard and a handgun in a pocket behind the front passenger seat.
A few minutes later, a group of teens approached the officers. A 16-year-old male said he was there to get the vehicle, the release said. He had the keys to the vehicle and admitted to having driven it earlier.
Police charged the 16-year-old with two counts of unlawful possession of a handgun. His name was not released because of his age. He was being held in the Juvenile Detention Center.
Anyone with information about the shooting should call Charleston Police at 743-7200 or Crime Stoppers at 554-1111.