In court, man accused of robbing pharmacy apologizes

by: Ken Lemon Updated:

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BELMONT, N.C. —

On Monday, the man accused of trying to rob a pharmacy and holding three people hostage in Belmont appeared before a judge.

Edward Russ started his first appearance with an apology.

"I did something wrong," Russ said.

Police said early Friday morning, he robbed a CVS drug store in Belmont with an automatic rifle.

They say he held three employees hostage, threatened to kill one and attempted to kill two police officers during an exchange of gunfire inside the store.

No one was hurt.

Russ said he didn't mean to shoot at police, and he fired his gun out of fear.

"It was a scared thing I did. They scared me real bad," Russ said.

Russ' parents saw him Monday for the first time since the standoff.

They held hands in court, his mother crying.

His father talked to Eyewitness News before the hearing.

"We'll support him in every way we can, but I can't excuse what he did," said father Howard Russ.

Howard Russ said he knew his son had a dependency on painkillers.

Police say he was popping stolen pills from the store's pharmacy during the standoff.

Russ said his son's dependency had never led to violence.

"I would not have dreamed anything like that would have happened," Howard Russ said.

Edward Russ lived with his parents. They thought he was asleep Friday morning until police woke them.

"I would just like to know why or whatever moved him to do this," Howard Russ said.