FBI Addresses Electric Station Destruction in N.C.

The FBI is investigating Saturday’s assaults on two North Carolina power stations that caused power disruptions for tens of thousands of residents.

Officials said the buildings were intentionally destroyed by gunshots for an unknown reason. No arrests were made.

FBI: This Was ‘Willful Damage’ To Hit the Power Grid

The FBI is pursuing “willful damage” to electricity infrastructure in Moore County, a spokeswoman said. She wouldn’t elaborate.

Duke Energy households in southeastern North Carolina were without electricity or heat late Monday. The county announced a public emergency, imposed a curfew, and canceled schools Monday.

Moore County Sheriff Ronnie Fields says law enforcement is gathering evidence to identify the suspects. Fields declined to reveal how much gunfire impacted each substation or if security cameras caught the film, citing the inquiry.

Investigators are looking into whether the event was related to a drag queen concert in Southern Pines on Saturday, Fields said, but so far, nothing has suggested a relationship.

Blackout Hits NC

The power failures began around 7 p.m. Saturday, thrusting citizens into darkness and putting some without water.

Moore Sheriff’s Office Maj. Andy Conway said the power stations are in Carthage and West End. Twenty minutes separate the towns. Southern Pines is 13 miles out of each.

Duke Energy official Jeff Brooks stated some equipment was “beyond repair” One gate was destroyed, he said. Brooks estimates that all customers will have power restored by Thursday.

No motive has been given. Fields said Sunday’s attack “wasn’t random.” Fields stated, “I don’t know why the attacker picked Moore County.”

Any Connection to Nearby Drag Show?

The substations were vandalized the same night as the Southern Pines drag show, which triggered anger for some on the right.

A regional LGBTQ nonprofit organized “Downtown Divas.” The performance was initially open to all ages, but promoters later restricted it to those above 18. Dietzel thought that many critics “didn’t understand the incident.”

The Fayetteville Observer reports that show organizers got violent warnings. Saturday’s protests were peaceful, Dietzel added.

Dietzel reported the power went out at Sunrise Theater at 8:40 p.m. A Drag queen stage named; “Naomi Dix” was preparing to perform when the room went dark.

Dix, 31, kept 300 people calm and optimistic. She requested everybody to turn on their smartphone flashlights, then led the audience in “Halo.” As the blackout’s scope became evident, organizers sent everyone home.

Governor Roy Cooper Responds

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) called the substations’ assault a “serious, purposeful crime” and said both state and federal law officials would investigate.

Jennifer Granholm termed the outage a “serious event” and said her agency is investigating with federal partners.

Moore County homeowners expected several days without heat or power. The community is used to hurricane and snowfall power interruptions. Mike Cameron, Southern Pines’ assistant town manager, and the fire chief said this is “certainly unusual.”

Cameron said a car collision on Saturday night caused by broken traffic signals sent four individuals to the hospital with minor injuries. He stated an unattended candle sparked a home fire on Monday morning.

He stated, “If the electricity were on, none of that would have happened.”

This article appeared in NewsHouse and has been published here with permission.