After firing a semi-automatic assault rifle inside a South Carolina pawn shop, a Boise man told law enforcement that “the Russians” were sending him messages and also repeatedly talked about the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Around 4:20 p.m. Tuesday, the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office north of Charleston responded to a report of shots fired from one of the pawn shop’s AR-15s. The suspect taken into custody was Gregory Franklin Westfall, of Boise.
Authorities said Westfall entered Big Buck’s Pawn Shop in Ladson, S.C., and asked to see an AR-15. While inspecting the rifle, he took out his own magazine for an AR-15 and loaded the weapon. He then began to shoot into the store and at two employees.
Westfall was wearing ballistic armor at the time of the incident, police said.
A store employee returned fire as the suspect fled the store, and sheriff’s deputies said they found Westfall in a wooded area behind the business. He still had the AR-15 but was taken into custody without further incident, they said.
When sheriff’s detectives interviewed Westfall, he allegedly made several statements regarding 9/11 and said Russians were sending him messages.
Westfall left behind his Dodge Ram pickup truck and a bag with unknown contents. The Charleston County Bomb Squad was called to assist, and because of the nature of the incident and the things Westfall said during the interview, federal law enforcement also assisted in the search.
According to Westfall’s Facebook page, he was living in Charleston, South Carolina. On Monday and Tuesday, Westfall had multiple Facebook posts where he wrote about being at war with the Russians, spilling blood, and going to his death.
“We are thankful that nobody was injured during this incident,” Berkeley County Sheriff Duane Lewis said. “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.”
Westfall was arrested on suspicion of two counts of attempted murder, one count of possession of a weapon during a violent crime and armed robbery. He is being held at the Hill-Finklea Detention Center in Berkeley County pending a warrant service and a bond hearing.