The FBI is working with state and local law enforcement to investigate Saturday’s deliberate attacks on two electrical substations in North Carolina that left tens of thousands of people without power.
About 33,000 Duke Energy customers were without electricity Monday after the facilities were damaged by gunfire in a deliberate destruction whose motive remains unclear, authorities said.
The FBI is investigating “deliberate damage” to power plants in Moore County, said Shelley Lynch, a spokesman for the FBI’s Charlotte field office. She declined to give further details.
Moore County Sheriff Ronnie Fields said Sunday that law enforcement personnel were collecting evidence and identifying the perpetrators. Fields declined to say how many gunfire hit each substation or whether security cameras captured footage of the attacks, citing a need to protect the investigation.
Investigators are investigating whether the incident was related to a drag queen show held Saturday night in the town of Southern Pines, Fields said, but stressed that so far nothing indicated a connection to the performance.
Event organizers said they had received violent threats from far-right activists ahead of Saturday’s show, the Fayetteville Observer reported Friday. The supporters and opponents of the show planned duel protests outside the hall.
The blackout began shortly after 7 p.m. Saturday, authorities said, leaving tens of thousands of residents in darkness and some with limited access to water.
Although technicians are working 24 hours a day, it could take until Thursday to restore power to the area, a statement from Duke Energy said. The province declared a state of emergency and imposed a curfew, while schools were closed on Monday.