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Police: Hostage situation at Florence hotel was over drugs

(Photos from WPDE and FCSO)

The hostage situation at a hotel in Florence on Friday resolved with no injuries and started because a man wanted drugs, according to Florence County Chief Deputy Glen Kirby.

Deputies surrounded the Travelhouse Inn, at the intersection of Highway 52 and I-95, for about three hours after a clerk was held hostage by an armed man.

Kirby says that man has been identified as Mark Travis Jenkins.

He said Jenkins gave up peacefully, according to Kirby, and the clerk is okay.

Deputies say he will be charged with kidnapping and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime.

Two people staying at the Travelhouse Inn said deputies escorted them out of hotel and told them the clerk was being held hostage.

Robert Strickland was in his room when he heard shouts and walked down hall.

He said deputies told him he had to leave for his safety.

Strickland said he called the clerk to ask what was going on and the man holding the clerk hostage answered the phone. He said the man appeared to be very anxious and said he needed some drugs. Strickland said he then hung up the phone.

"He said I know you know who's selling crack around here. If you want to help your friend, you need to come up here to the office and get this $100 I got and get me some crack," he said.

Shaquilla Bruce said she was a guest at the hotel and didn't know what was going on.

"We heard all this knocking and banging on the door this morning. And I'm like why are they knocking on the door. Because it's not checkout time. And we open the door and and it was guys down the hall. They said we need to get y'all out. Police wouldn't tell us what was going on until they got us out of the building. We couldn't go to a car or grab anything. And they told us that the front clerk was being held hostage. They have her hostage. And she's a real nice lady I just hope they can get out safe," said Bruce.

Kirby said after about two hours of negotiations Jenkins surrendered.

"All of this is because he wanted to obtain a quantity of drugs."

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