All Hostages Free, Suspect in Custody in Charlotte Standoff

Friday, May 5th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Editor's Note: The following story is from WCNC, KOTV's sister station in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Charlotte, N.C. -- Police say the man who held as many as nine people hostage at the Metroview Building in the Elizabeth neighborhood is in custody. Officers escorted Donald Ross out of the building in handcuffs shortly after 11:30 a.m. No one was injured.

Ross was wearing camouflage pants, a black T-shirt and a baseball cap. He was put in a police car and taken to the Mecklenburg County Jail.

Police say the hostage situation began around 8:30 a.m. There were as many as nine people being held hostage by Ross.

A pharmacist inside the building says he held his ex-wife due to a domestic dispute. She is a clerical employee at the clinic.

Ross' ex-wife was the last hostage released in the standoff. She has been taken to the hospital as a precaution to make sure she was not injured.

Police say they do not know exactly why Ross took his ex-wife hostage.

He apparently entered the building and rode the elevator up to the ninth floor where he pulled a gun out of a bag and told people to get down.

After the SWAT Team arrived at the building, 1900 Randolph Rd., hostage negotiators made contact with the suspect inside the building by phone.

The suspect's family is also on the scene.

Ross, 28, is a construction worker from Stallings in Union County. He does have a minor police record but the offenses have not been released at this time.

One of the hostages was released around 9:50 a.m. when she had an asthma attack. Ross released the woman so she could get medical treatment.

The Mecklenburg Neurological Association is on the ninth floor of the Metroview Building. The building is next to the former Nalle Clinic. Employees at the former Nalle Clinic have been evacuated.

Many streets around the building have been blocked off including Randolph Road, 3rd Avenue, 4th Avenue and Caswell Road.

Elizabeth Traditional and Eastover Elementary School are in a lockdown mode as a result of the situation. Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools says this is just a precautionary measure and the students and staff are safe. No problems have been reported.

The lockdown mode means no one can enter or leave either of the schools. School officials say parents should not try to pick up their children.

The Mecklenburg Neurological Association has a staff of 11 neurologists that treat approximately 35,000 patients in the Mecklenburg County area.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department Special Weapons and Tactics Team has a total of sixty-one members, separated into three units:

 Tactical unit: A total of 43 members responsible for tactical operations. Grenadiers in this unit deliver chemical agents. Snipers and observers in this unit use weapon systems capable of functioning at extended ranges.

 Crisis Negotiators: A total of 13 members responsible for establishing a dialogue with suspects at the scene.

 Medics: A total of five members including a supervisor. The members are civilian employees of Mecklenburg County EMS and have been trained in all operations except firearms.

The members of the SWAT Team serve on a part-time basis with all members having other functions within their respective agencies.