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State of Emergency Declared in North Carolina County Following Power Grid Attack

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Moore County, North Carolina residents are under a curfew Sunday night and for the foreseeable future after a targeted attack on two substations knocked out power for thousands of customers.

The county has declared a state of emergency.

The massive power outage was reportedly caused by gunfire on Saturday night, according to the Moore County Sheriff’s Office.

Mike Cameron of the Southern Pines Fire and Rescue Department told CNN that a gate at one of the locations appeared to have been taken off its hinges.

From CNN:

The county will implement a mandatory curfew from 9 p.m. until 5 a.m., starting Sunday night, Moore County Sheriff Ronnie Fields said at a news conference Sunday.

Municipality and county officials “have formed a plan for the night and the next few nights that we may be out of power. It’s a very serious situation,” Fields said. “So we’ve come to an agreement to best protect our citizens and to protect the businesses of our county, we’re going to implement a curfew tonight.”

A state of emergency went into effect at 4 p.m. Sunday as law enforcement, city and energy officials are investigating the incident and working to restore the two substations, authorities said. Law enforcement has also been providing security for the stations, according to the sheriff.

The power outage is being investigated as a “criminal occurrence” after crews found signs of potential vandalism at several locations, CNN previously reported.

Fields said multiple rounds were fired at the two substations. “It was targeted, it wasn’t random,” he said.

No suspects have been identified in connection with the incident. Fields would not say if the criminal activity was domestic terrorism.

“The person, or persons, who did this knew exactly what they were doing,” Fields said. “We don’t have a clue why Moore County.”

Duke Energy spokesman Jeff Brooks told WRAL that crews are experiencing “multiple equipment failures” at substations in Moore County.

“We are actively investigating signs of potential vandalism related to the outages,” Brooks said.

WRAL reported:

Fields said that crews at the substations found “extensive damage” when inspecting the equipment; He also said that there was evidence that firearms had been used to disable the equipment.

Fields said the Moore County Sheriff’s Office is working with state and local law enforcement and will continue to investigate the incident. When asked if this was an incident of domestic terrorism Fields replied, “I can’t answer that,” but added “This was targeted. It wasn’t random.”

Investigators aren’t sure if there is a tie between the substation damage and a drag show that sparked a lot of controversy in the area; It happened at the Sunrise Theater in Southern Pines.

There was heavy security there amid concerns about protesters and fears of possible violence.

Posts flooded social media Saturday night, but Fields said the posts they have investigated have been deemed not credible.

Fields did have strong words for the shooters.

“Cowardly is what I’d call it,” Fields said. “We don’t have anything. No motivation and no group has stepped up to acknowledge or accept what has been done. I call them cowards.”

The Moore County Sheriff’s Office issued this statement on Facebook Saturday night:

Moore County Sheriff Ronnie Fields reports that the mass power outage across the county is being investigated as a criminal occurrence.

Just after 7 pm on Saturday evening, December 3, 2022, several different communities across Moore County began experiencing power outages.

As utility companies began responding to the different substations, evidence was discovered that indicated that intentional vandalism had occurred at multiple sites.

Moore County Sheriff’s Deputies and various other law enforcement agencies within the county responded to the different areas and are providing further site security.

Anyone with any information about this act of violence should contact the Moore County Sheriff’s Office at 910-947-2931.

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