published Friday, October 25th, 2013

Gunman in N.C. drugstore after hostages released

BELMONT, N.C. — An attempted robbery at a North Carolina drugstore turned into a standoff early today with a gunman holding three hostages for more than two hours before releasing them, police said.

Negotiations continued with the gunman in the CVS drugstore in Belmont as of 6:30 a.m. Friday.

Authorities were called to the store shortly after 1:45 a.m., Police Chief Charles Franklin said. The gunman fired several shots at the first officers to arrive and they returned fire before realizing three people were being held hostage.

The officers left the store and called for assistance. Officers from Gastonia, Gaston County and Mount Holly surrounded the store while negotiations were held with the man, who has not been identified.

The hostages were released shortly after 4 a.m. There have been no injuries, Sgt. John Wilson said.

Streets in the area were blocked off. Belmont is about 15 miles west of Charlotte.

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