In an initial statement shared to social media, the Moore County Sheriff’s Office noted that the mass power outage in the region was being investigated as a “criminal occurrence,” adding that early evidence showed that “intentional vandalism” was to blame. In a follow-up statement, a curfew was announced.
Per a report from regional outlet WBTV, around 36,000 residents were ultimately determined to be without power, with a Duke Energy rep warning that ensuing repair operations could take several days to be completed.
At a press conference on Sunday, Moore County Sheriff Ronnie Fields revealed that the FBI was now involved in the investigation into the attack. At the presser, Fields was asked about speculation that the attack had been carried out to prevent a local drag show from proceeding. Per Fields, police have “not been able to tie anything back to” that as a motive.
“We faced something last night here in Moore County that we’ve never faced before but I promise you we will get through this and we will get through it together,” Fields said Sunday.
According to Fields, two substations were damaged by gunfire, with evidence at the scene indicating that a firearm had been used to “disable” power equipment. As for whether this is being treated as a domestic terrorism case, Fields said that distinction will be up to federal authorities.
“Domestic terrorism? I can’t answer that,” he said. “Again, we’re looking at all avenues. … I can say this, this individual that don this, it was targeted. It wasn’t random.”
Complex has reached out to the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, the FBI’s Charlotte division, and the Moore County Sheriff’s Office for comment. This story may be updated.
On Sunday, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper called the attack a “serious, intentional crime” for which those responsible will be brought “to justice.”