Moore County power: Nearly 2 dozen shell casings found in North Carolina electric substation shootings that cut service for thousands, sources say


Nearly two dozen high-powered rifle shell casings have been recovered from the scene where shootings crippled two North Carolina power plants last weekend and left most of the county without power service for days, according to law enforcement sources.

While investigators have not found a gun, the wreckage could still provide critical evidence.

A shooting damaged two substations in central North Carolina’s Moore County on Saturday night – a shooting officials say was a “vicious” and “targeted” attack. Tens of thousands of utility customers were without power through at least Wednesday morning, schools were forced to close, businesses without generators shut down, and many residents were left without heat.

Duke Energy Utilities expects to have power restored to most of its customers in the county by late Wednesday, a Duke spokeswoman said. More than 22,000 utility customers were without power as of 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, out of 63,800 monitored in the county, according to More than 40,000 customers were initially affected Saturday night, Duke said.

The break-in began just after 7 p.m. Saturday, and no suspect or motive has been reported, the Moore County Sheriff’s Office said.

Bullets recovered from sites, and bronze cells found remotely are some of the physical evidence investigators have to work with.

Due to the heat generated in the chamber of a high-powered rifle during rapid fire, fingerprints are burned – and it is almost impossible to recover from the spent cartridges. Still, brass can offer valuable clues.

Investigators can enter the wreckage into the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network, a database from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Fire and Explosives. The database stores three-dimensional images of the casings and can match them to any other casings that may have been fired from the same gun at another crime scene or to the gun, if the gun is recovered.

Where the casings were found could give investigators a way to pinpoint the locations of the shots. Knowing where the shooter fired from can lead to discoveries such as shoe prints and tire tracks.

Without heat or power for medical equipment, some Moore County residents are staying in a shelter as crews rush to restore power.

Power is expected to be restored in Moore County by late Wednesday, Duke Energy spokesman Jeff Brooks said Tuesday.

But for now, schools are closed through Thursday, many stores and restaurants are closed, homes are operating without heating or refrigeration, drivers are driving through intersections without traffic lights, and a countywide curfew from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. is still in place. in place of.

Nakasha Jackson, who came to the shelter to pick up hot meals, said the disconnection has been difficult with her 1-year-old child.

An emergency shelter run by the Red Cross was set up at the Moore County Sports Complex to provide shelter, food, showers and other services to people affected.

Nakasha Jackson, who came to the shelter to pick up hot meals, said the cut has been difficult for her 1-year-old child.

“Without light, without power, he can’t really do anything. The child is afraid of the dark,” she told CNN.

Jackson said she sometimes has to travel an hour one way to buy food. “It’s lonely. It should never have been done,” Jackson said.

Residents who rely on electrical medical equipment have also lost their lives. One woman told CNN that she came to the shelter because there was no power to her CPAP machine at night.

After two days without sleep, she said she started to feel sick and came to the shelter for help.

Others sought shelter fearing for their safety as they tried to heat their homes.

“It’s different. It’s a tough dream, you know. But at the end of the day, I’d rather be somewhere that’s warm, where we have food, where we’re taken care of than somewhere that’s cold, said Amber Sampson.

In addition to being forced to stay at the shelter, Sampson has been unable to work since Sunday after her employer also lost power — a problem that could have cost her hundreds of dollars.

Officials expressed outrage over the attack, with Carol Haney, the mayor of Southern Pines — a town of about 15,900 residents that lost all power — calling it a cruel and selfish act.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper expressed concern about nursing home businesses and residents.

“When we look at all the money that is lost by businesses here during the Christmas period, when we look at the threats to people in nursing homes that have lost power, hospitals have to run generators and can’t run in do some sort of operation at this point. – They’re all deep concerns here, and we can’t let that happen,” the governor told CNN on Tuesday.

“This was a vicious, criminal attack on the entire community.”

Duke Energy, which has about 47,000 customers in Moore County, has made “significant progress” since Saturday, Brooks said Tuesday, and expects most customers to have power restored by Wednesday, just before midnight.

“It’s not going to happen overnight,” Brooks said. “You’ll see waves of customers coming in. Several thousand at a time.”

Brooks said early on that restoring power would not be an easy task, as the shooting damaged some equipment beyond repair.

Crews work Monday on a damaged substation in Carthage, North Carolina.

“It’s a very complex process that involves equipment being transported to the installation,” Brooks said at a news conference Tuesday.

“It’s there but now we’re going through the process of calibrating and testing it and getting it ready to sync with the power grid, which is a very complicated process.”

Cooper told CNN that the state needs to learn from the incident and have a serious conversation about protecting critical infrastructure.

“It was clear that (whoever was behind the shooting) knew how to do significant damage, and that they could have done it at this substation, so we have to reassess the situation,” Cooper said Tuesday.

Brooks, the Duke Energy spokesman, said it is up to investigators to determine whether the person or persons responsible for the outage knew how to cause widespread damage to the system.

“They hit the spots that made the cut, so rate it,” Brooks said Tuesday.

Moore County Sheriff Ronnie Fields said whoever set fire to the bases “knew exactly what they were doing.” Neither group “has come forward to admit or admit that they are the ones who did it,” Sheriff said Sunday.

Investigators are trying to determine whether the two substations were shot simultaneously, or one after the other, the sheriff said Monday.

Officials are not disclosing whether the cameras at the two substations were affected because that is “part of the investigation that they don’t want to disclose at this time,” Cooper said.

“If one person with a gun can cause so much harm and power to tens of thousands of people, then obviously we need to look at different layers of infrastructure and resilience and make better decisions here,” Cooper said.


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