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Police in Belmont, N.C. said that an armed robbery turned into a hostage situation after a man took several hostages inside a North Carolina CVS early Friday morning.
At about 1 a.m. ET, police responded to call about a robbery at the CVS, according to WCNC. A customer who had seen the man armed with an assault rifle made the 911 call after they walked out of the store.
When officers arrived and tried to enter the store and get the man to lower his weapon, the man opened fire, barely missing two officers. Both officers fired back at the man and were able to make a retreat, after which the armed gunman took three store employees hostage, reports CBS News.
A standoff then ensued, and a negotiator was brought to the scene along with the local SWAT team, according to the Associated Press. After about two hours, police were able to negotiate the man into letting the hostages go.
"They were not harmed, he kept them there, spoke to them for a while," Chief Charlie Franklin of the Belmont Police Department told WCNC in an interview. "He released two, held one, and we finally negotiated him to let that one go, also.”
The hostages have not been identified.
As of 6 a.m. ET, the gunman has not come out of the store. The streets surrounding the store have been closed indefinitely, until the man can be taken into custody.
UPDATE 8:12 a.m.: The AP reports that the gunman has surrendered and released three hostages.