Gunfire in an alleged criminal incident over the weekend in North Carolina caused widespread power outages, according to officials, The Hill reports.
In a news conference with other local officials, Moore County Sheriff Ronnie Fields stated that evidence found at the scene shows a handgun was used to destroy the energy equipment.
The attack was described as purposeful, willful, and malevolent by state senator Tom McInnis (R), who also promised that those responsible would face the worst penalties possible.
Most of Moore County was hit by outages that started on Saturday evening. In order to identify the culprit or culprits, local law enforcement is collaborating with the FBI as authorities are looking into the outages as a criminal incident.
“FBI Charlotte is investigating the willful damage to power facilities in Moore County,” the federal law enforcement agency said, referring to its offices in Charlotte, North Carolina, Reuters reported. “We are in regular contact with local law enforcement and private sector partners.”
According to the tracking website poweroutage.us, roughly 64% of Moore County’s electric customers were still without power on Sunday night in the primarily rural region about 90 miles (145 km) east of Charlotte.
Around 7 o’clock on Saturday night, 40,000 households and companies in Moore County lost power. It was “a targeted attack. It wasn’t random,” Fields remarked, per Reuters. Gates were demolished, and there was equipment damage from the shooting, according to utility personnel.
According to Jeff Brooks, a spokeswoman for Duke Energy, the scope of the damage might cause the disruptions to last into Thursday.