by: Ken Lemon Updated:
BELMONT, N.C. - The man investigators said held several people hostage Friday morning in a CVS pharmacy is in custody.
Edward Russ went before a judge Friday after police said they had a six-hour standoff.
Police said Russ took three people hostage at the 24-hour CVS pharmacy in Belmont. Police said several people were in the store when the gunman came in and tried to rob it.
One person was able to slip out of the front door and call police.
When officers arrived on the scene, they went inside the store but said the gunman started firing at them with a shotgun.
They returned fire, and were able to back out of the pharmacy without getting injured.
The hostages were safely released around 4 a.m., according to police.
Streets in the area were blocked off. Officers from several departments were at the scene, including the Gastonia SWAT team.
Belmont Sgt. John Wilson said no injuries have been reported.
A spokesman for CVS said none of the employees were injured.
"We will re-open our Belmont store as quickly as possible. In the meantime, Belmont customers with prescription needs can visit our nearby store at 3440 Wilkinson Blvd. in Charlotte," said Mike DeAngelis, a spokesman for CVS.
Police also suggested calling 704-395-3670.
Russ went before a magistrate judge early Friday afternoon. His bond was set at $5 million.
Channel 9 checked his criminal background and discovered he has been through this process before.
He has been arrested four times in Gaston County on misdemeanor charges, but never convicted.
The charges he faces Friday are the most serious offenses he has ever had.
Eyewitness News went to his Gastonia home. His father answered the door and told me he couldn't talk.
His closest friends have been talking about it all day. Some watched the ordeal at CVS unfold on TV. They said they are stunned.