BERKELEY COUNTY, S.C.–A man is behind bars and charged with attempted murder after deputies say he opened fire on several store employees inside a Ladson pawn shop.
On Tuesday approximately 4:20 p.m., deputies with the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office responded to a report of shots fired at Big Buck’s Pawn Shop located at 113 College Park Road.
Authorities say a white man entered the store and asked to see an AR-15 rifle. While inspecting the rifle, deputies say he took out a loaded magazine for an AR-15 that he had and inserted it into the firearm. Deputies say he then began to shoot into the store and at two of the employees inside of the store.
A store employee then returned fire from his own firearm at the suspect as he fled the store. Responding deputies located Gregory Franklin Westfall in a wooded area behind the store. He still had the AR-15 in his possession at the time he was taken into custody without further incident. Westfall was wearing ballistic armor at the time of the incident.
When Berkeley County Sheriff’s detectives interviewed Westfall, he made several statements regarding 9/11 and that “the Russians” were sending him messages. The word, “assassin” appears on his Facebook profile.
Left behind at the scene was his Dodge Ram pickup truck and a bookbag with unknown contents. The Charleston County Bomb Squad was called to assist with clearing the contents of the truck and book-bag. Due to the nature of the incident and the things that Westfall was saying during the interview, the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives was called in for assistance as well as the Federal Bureau of Investigations.
Westfall is being charged with two counts of attempted murder, one count of possession of weapon during a violent crime and armed robbery. He is currently being held at the Hill Finklea Detention Center pending warrant service and a bond hearing.
There were no injuries during this incident.
“We are thankful that nobody was injured during this incident. Thankfully citizens provided 911 with good information as the suspect tried to escape the area on foot. The assistance of our local and federal partners is also appreciated, we called them for some of their technical expertise and resources,” Sheriff Duane Lewis stated.
Westfall’s bond hearing will be Wednesday evening at 6:30pm at the Hill Finklea Detention Center in Moncks Corner.