Fact-check: Was NC substation attack in retaliation to a local drag show?




  • In US
  • 2022-12-09 20:34:35Z
  • By Charlotte Observer
 

Nearly all Duke Energy customers in Moore County have had their power restored after a substation attack left thousands in the dark for several days.

The outages were the result of intentional damage by firearms to two substations in the county, The Charlotte Observer reported.

The widespread outage -- which affected more than 35,000 customers at one point -- caused several accidents, including a four-vehicle wreck at the intersection of Morganton Road and U.S. 15-501 in Southern Pines, according to Mike Cameron, Southern Pines' assistant town manager and fire chief.

Hospitals and healthcare centers in the area used generators and were largely unaffected by the outages, the Observer reported.

Local, state and federal law enforcement are investigating the case, according to Moore County Sheriff Ronnie Fields.

Was the substation attack related to a drag show?

After the attack, some speculated the outages were related to a drag show that was underway at the Sunrise Theater in downtown Southern Pines.

But officials have not linked the event to the substation attack that took place Saturday night, the Observer reported.

The investigation into the attack is ongoing, officials said. No possible motives have been identified, and no suspects have been named.

"While we don't know the precise motivation behind this attack, extremists in Moore County had been protesting a drag event to be held in the community at the exact time that power stations were damaged by gunfire," said a statement by Equality NC.

Where did the drag show rumor originate?

Moore County resident Emily Grace Rainey, an outspoken opponent of the drag show, posted an invitation on her Facebook page to the protest at the theater. After the substation outage, Rainey posted on Facebook that, "The power is out in Moore County and I know why."

Fields indicated in a press conference that the account posted by Rainey was "false and confirmed that the Moore County sheriff's deputies questioned her about the outage.

Who is Emily Grace Rainey?

Rainey is a former U.S. Army psychological operations officer and conservative activist, Newsweek reported.

She resigned from the Army while under investigation for leading a group of Moore County residents to a rally in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 6, 2021, which led to an attack on the U.S. Capitol by supporters of former President Donald Trump.

During the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Rainey was charged with injury to personal property after posting a video that showed her removing yellow tape at a playground that was closed in Southern Pines, WRAL reported.

How you can help

As the investigation continues, the FBI is asking for information related to the attack in Moore County.

"As power service returns to residents in Moore County, NC, the FBI continues to ask for your help in this joint criminal investigation," the FBI Charlotte Field Office tweeted Wednesday. "We need to find whoever is responsible for shooting two electrical substations causing this massive power outage."

A reward of up to $75,000 is being offered to anyone who provides information leading to an arrest and conviction of whoever is responsible for the attack, The News & Observer reported.

Anyone with information regarding the case should call the Moore County Sheriff's Office tip line at 910-947-4444, contact their local FBI field office or submit a tip online at tips.fbi.gov.

COMMENTS

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: US