State and federal officials are investigating a massive power outage in Moore County, caused by what is believed to be an intentional and targeted attack that left around 40,000 Duke Energy customers in the dark on Saturday.
CNN reports that utility crews found signs of potential vandalism of equipment, including two substations that had been damaged by gunfire. During a press conference on Sunday, Moore County Sheriff Ronnie Fields said, “The person, or persons, who did this knew exactly what they were doing. We don’t have a clue why Moore County.”
He went on to say, “It was targeted, it wasn’t random.” He said to say whether or not the criminal activity was an act of domestic terrorism, but he did note that no group has stepped up to accept responsibility.
Gov. Cooper calls it “a criminal attack.”
In an interview on CNN’s The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer, Governor Roy Cooper explained the importance of both finding those responsible and preventative measures. “We need to look forward, to look at how we can harden our electrical grid and make sure that our power sources are protected,” he said, adding the grid “can’t be this vulnerable that someone with knowledge of how to disable the electrical system could come in and actually do that in a very short amount of time.”
Duke Energy says that about 38,000 homes and businesses remain powerless as of Monday afternoon (Dec. 5). Spokesperson Jeff Brooks mentioned that it could take until Thursday for power to be fully restored. Until then, a county-wide mandatory curfew is in place from 9 pm to 5 am.
Social Media raises questions about a possible motive.
WRAL reports that there has been talk on social media about a possible motive for the targeted vandalism. Emily Grace Rainey, a former Army psychological operations officer, made several posts about the outage on social media, saying, “The power is out in Moore County and I know why.”
It is noted that Rainey has been vehemently protesting a local drag show that was scheduled for Saturday night in Southern Pines. Prior to the show, Rainey posted the contact information of the sponsors, saying, “You know what to do.” She also posted a picture of the marquee where the show was taking place, claiming that God was “chastising Moore County.”
Rainey, who claims to be the head of conservative group Moore County Citizens for Freedom (MCCF), says that when deputies came to question her, she told them “God works in mysterious ways…I used the opportunity to tell them about the immoral drag show and the blasphemies screamed by its supporters.”
Despite conservative pushback, the drag show continued, with the crowd using cell phones to light the stage after the power went out.
Sheriff Fields said in Sunday’s press conference that Rainey’s posts were “false.” While deputies did speak with her, they determined her social posts to be not credible. Fields reiterated the importance of not making false accusations during times of emergency.
Law Enforcement Investigates Massive Power Outage in Moore County, NC was originally published on foxync.com
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