Police shoot armed robbery suspect in hostage situation at Salisbury grocery store

Sniper praised as hero in hostage situation

SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) - An armed robbery suspect accused of taking employees hostage at a Salisbury Harris Teeter was seriously injured in an officer-involved shooting late Thursday night.

Salisbury police say they were called to an armed robbery at the Harris Teeter on Jake Alexander Boulevard around 11:30 p.m. Police say when officers arrived, the suspect, identified as 30-year-old Cody Maxwell Schimmels, was holding several employees hostage at gunpoint inside the store.

"My parents saw it on the news and woke me up and said hey there's a robbery at your job and he was there and he could have been a possible hostage," said Ashlie White.

She works at Harris-Teeter and so does her brother, and he was working on Thursday night.

"I wouldn't think it would happen to my brother, or me, so it's just scary to think that you come to work and something like this could happen."

An officer, now identified as Sgt. Daniel Lancaster, shot Schimmels after he threatened to hurt a hostage, police say.

"He was armed with a handgun and the things he was doing with the handgun indicated that we needed to take action," said Salisbury Police Chief Jerry Stokes.

Schimmels was taken to Novant Rowan and later flown to North Carolina Baptist Hospital in Winston Salem. He remains in critical and unstable condition, police say.

No officers or employees were injured in the incident.

According to an employee, the customer was another employee's spouse who was at the store to pick them up. Harris Teeter released the following statement Friday morning:

"We are relieved and grateful that all of our valued associates and one customer involved at the Salisbury Harris Teeter are safe and unharmed. Our associates remained calm and courageous through the ordeal, aiding law enforcement's response. The entire Harris Teeter family thanks the Salisbury Police, Rowan EMS and other safety personnel for their speedy response to ensure our safety.

SBI is investigating and the officer involved is on paid administrative leave, per standard protocol.

Chief Stokes said that based on the video he has seen of the incident, he believes Sgt. Lancaster acted appropriately in firing that shot that struck Schimmels.

"I certainly feel like Officer Lancaster is a hero," Chief Stokes said during a press conference. "This was a very tense situation that unfolded quickly, and the officers acted commendably."

Police say the officer fired one shot from his gun during the incident. Warrants were obtained for Schimmells for attempted armed robbery. Officials say additional charges are pending. Police say they have had no prior contact with the suspect.

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