Crime & Courts

Columbia restaurant employee shoots, kills man in robbery attempt, police say

Police are investigating a deadly shooting that happened at a Columbia restaurant late Thursday.

An employee at China Kitchen Restaurant allegedly shot a man who police believe was trying to rob the eatery, according to a statement Friday from the Columbia Police Department. The worker will not be charged, and police are calling the case “self-defense.”

When police arrived on the scene at the Forest Drive restaurant at about 11 p.m. Thursday, they found a man on the ground who had been shot in the upper body, according to the statement. He was wearing all black and a covering over his face.

Employees told police the man entered the store with a gun and demanded money from the register, according to the statement. One employee tried to grab the gun away from the man.

A struggle ensued and another employee shot the burglar, according to police. That other employee was carrying his own gun, police said.

The suspected robber was taken to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead, according to the statement.

A swarm of police cars completely blocked Forest Drive near the Two Notch Road intersection around 11 p.m. Thursday. Yellow crime scene tape was put up around the parking lot outside the China Kitchen at 2419 Forest Drive, which is adjacent to Providence Hospital.

The identity of the alleged robber has not been released, and Richland County Coroner Watts’ office will name the deceased after the next of kin is notified.

There was a heavy Columbia police presence outside the restaurant, and at least one K-9 team was seen sniffing around the back side of the restaurant. Benedict College police also were on scene.