Police say armed robbery attempt at Belmont drug store becomes hostage situation

Police in North Carolina say an attempted armed robbery has turned into a hostage situation at a drug store.

Police in Belmont were called to the CVS store shortly before 2 a.m. Friday.

Police Chief Charles Franklin says a gunman fired several shots at the first officers to arrive and they returned fire.

Police say the standoff became a hostage situation and state and local officers are on the scene, including the Gastonia Police SWAT team.

A negotiator is in communication with the gunman. A police statement says three hostages were released shortly after 4 a.m. It was unclear if there were other hostages in the store.

Sgt. John Wilson says there have been no injuries.

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