Investigators say they have located a 31-year-old Mount Pleasant man who eluded authorities earlier on Thursday after SWAT teams had surrounded a hotel on the Isle of Palms.
The Charleston County Sheriff's Office arrested Joshua Ainsworth at 6:40 p.m. at the Walmart on Centre Pointe Drive in North Charleston.
Deputies arrested Ainsworth at the location after the sheriff's office received a tip. Ainsworth was locked up at the Al Cannon Detention Center.
On Thursday morning, a popular strip of Isle of Palms was blocked off for hours as the SWAT team worked on a potentially dangerous situation. Isle of Palms police believed at the time that Ainsworth had barricaded himself inside a hotel room. He is wanted in multiple states for bank-related charges.
"We did not feel it was safe to go in and get somebody in a room, so I contacted the sheriff's office to come out with the SWAT Team to help us make entry," Isle of Palms Police Chief Thomas Buckhannon said.
Tactical team members stormed into The Palms Hotel at 1126 Ocean Boulevard Thursday morning.
"We've seen a lot of police officers, bullet proof vests, weapons. We've been told it's some kind of stand off, some guy has barricaded himself in," beach visitor Jessica Simon said.
It was around 9 a.m. when visitors at the hotel were told to get out. Tactical teams were then moved in to the third floor in search of the suspect. The SWAT team used distraction devices and tear gas to try to get Ainsworth out, before going inside.
Investigators found a cell phone, some notepads, and some other items and put them into evidence. They say they found a handgun in his car.
"Based on what we found, he made a hasty departure. As the chief said, we are pursuing other leads that relate to the area," Charleston County Sheriff Al Cannon said.
Vacationers say they never felt in danger, and the situation makes their trip memorable.
"It was a little scary when we saw the SWAT team going by.We're having a good time. We had nothing to do today. This is part of our vacation. Something to tell when we get home," beach visitors Nancy and Dallas Sumner said.
Police say they approached Ainsworth and his friend as they were drinking at an IOP marina Wednesday night, and Ainsworth took off running. They say they ran his vehicle tags, and that's how they found out he was wanted for bank charges in Horry County and Georgia.
They say Ainsworth's friend told them they were staying at the Palms Hotel. Authorities took Ainsworth's friend into custody for questioning. At this time, he is only charged with a traffic violation.
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