Officer shoots armed robbery suspect during hostage situation at Salisbury Harris Teeter

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An armed robbery suspect was shot by a police officer as employees were violently held hostage overnight at a Harris Teeter grocery store in Salisbury, police said. 

Officers responded to a possible armed robbery around 11:30 p.m. Thursday on West Jake Alexander Road. As they arrived on scene, officers found an armed robbery in progress and the suspect was holding five people, four employees and an employee's spouse, hostage inside the Harris Teeter. 

Police said the suspect, identified as Cody Maxwell Schimmels, 30, was armed with a handgun and was after the grocery store's safe. 

They attempted to negotiate with Schimmels. When the suspect threatened to harm one of the hostages and pointed his handgun at them, Sgt. Daniel Lancaster fired a shot, hitting Schimmels. The suspect was taken into custody and first aid was started by officers, as well as Rowan County EMS. 

"Our officers acted with great bravery and strength," Salisbury Police Chief Jerry Stokes said Friday. 

Schimmels was transported by helicopter to North Carolina Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem. He remains in critical, unstable condition at this time. 

All hostages were unharmed and evacuated safely, police said. 

Sgt. Daniel Lancaster has been with the Salisbury Police Department since 2009. Authorities said he is part of their patrol team and responded to the Harris Teeter incident as part of the department's Special Response Team. He will be on desk duty, as is standard, police said. 

The North Carolina SBI will be conducting the investigation into the shooting and Salisbury Police Criminal Investigations will be investigating the armed robbery.