BELMONT, N.C. Belmont Police say a man took several people hostage at a CVS Pharmacy Friday morning.

SWAT officers responded to the 6700 block of Wilkinson Boulevard around 1 a.m. for a robbery call.

Authorities say the lone gunman, armed with an assault rifle, was spotted by a customer, who walked outside and called 911, before any demands could be made.

Officers arrived on scene before any conversation took place between the gunman and store employees.

Police officers say they ordered the gunman, identified as Edward Scott Ross, 46, to drop his weapon, but instead, police say, he opened fire, narrowly missing two officers.

The officers were able to retreat, but Russ then took three hostages-- a female and two male CVSemployees, officials say.

The hostages were eventually released, but police continued to negotiate with Russ who remained inside the store.

About 7 a.m., Russ was taken into custody; police say he surrendered to officers.

In a post-incident meeting with media, offiicals say Russ was observed on surveillance video stealing pills from the pharmacy during the standoff.

The identities of the hostages have not yet been released.

Wilkinson Boulevard was closed from Browntown Road to Holly Avenue until about 7:30 Friday morning; the roadway has since fully reopened.
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