[image-1] An employee at Leon’s Oyster Shop has been accused of threatening Virginia’s copycat violence against the restaurant staff, according Charleston Police Department incident report.
The incident occurred on Sat. Feb. 10 at 9:50 a.m. when dishwasher Benjamin Anthony Doyle (51) allegedly showed up for work 45 minutes late and made threats after finding the kitchen full of dirty dishes.
According to the report, the sous chef said that during an altercation with staff, Doyle threatened, “I’ll burn this bitch down.” Another employee escorted Doyle out and the offender then stopped and began shouting, “I’ve got my gun on me now. They don’t know who they’re messing with. I’ll do a Virginia’s up in here.”
Doyle may have been referring to the deadly shooting at the King Street restaurant last summer that resulted in Executive Chef Anthony Shane Whiddon’s death. In another instance of a disgruntled employee altercation, on Aug. 14, 2017 Virginia’s employee Thomas Demetrius Burns entered the restaurant during lunch service and shot and killed Whiddon. Burns died Dec. 14 at Palmetto Health Richland hospital from complications of the gunshot wound he received during the incident.
At Leon’s, the report says that after he was escorted off the premises, the offender left north on King Street but was later stopped by a reporting officer at the intersection of America and South streets where he was positively identified and placed under arrest for Assault and Battery 3rd degree. CPD Public Information Officer Charles Francis says, “Even though the assault was not carried out the fact that he claimed to have a gun and threatened bodily harm made this the best charge.”
Doyle is out on bond and has a court date set for March 13, 2018.
Brooks Reitz, Leon’s owner responded to a request for comment by saying the restaurant employs a number of safety procedures that include, “background checks on all employees — this includes line and management level.” In addition, Reitz added, “We employ a door staff/bouncers at the restaurants, and have since day one. They walk staff to their cars and stay on site until the restaurant is closed up, locked, armed, and the closing managers have been walked to their cars. We have a Director of Safety for the company that handles cameras, security systems, and who hires and trains the door staff in safety protocols. We have cameras and security systems in place company wide, as well as at our offices. And any time we’ve encountered an issue —whether that be a customer that has a stroke while dining, or a belligerent customer — we call the police.”