Gunshots heard the night of power grid attacks

Published: Dec. 8, 2022 at 10:02 AM EST
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MOORE COUNTY, N.C. (WRAL) - Investigators are still searching for the person or persons who attacked two substations in North Carolina, causing a widespread power outage.

They said they hope surveillance videos from nearby homes and businesses can give them a lead.

Meanwhile, neighbors are saying they heard gunshots the night of the attack.

The cars, cruising down Highway 211 near the west end substation, were caught on camera Saturday night from multiple businesses, like Napa Auto Parts and Carolina Carriage.

Investigators confirm they are scrubbing through the video looking for suspicious activity.

“Me and my wife were sitting on the couch just watching a movie, and all of the sudden, about 8:45, about 20 shots fired off right across the street,” Spencer Matthews said.

He said the shots were fired in quick succession. He called 911, but the power did not go out for about 30 minutes.

“It’s pretty nerve-racking. That’s when I got loaded myself just to protect my household, my wife and my dogs,” Matthews said.

Power crews and deputies have remained at the substation for the last four days.

Duke Energy is still not answering WRAL’s questions about cameras on the property, only saying they have security measures in place.

The FBI issued an alert, looking for the person or group of people responsible for the attacks that left 45,000 people without power.

Just three days before the shootings, the Department of Homeland Security released a memo, saying, “The United States remains in a heightened threat environment.”

The memo listed several targets of potential violence, including critical infrastructure.

Still, it’s hard for longtime residents to believe it happened here.

“People come here to play golf and raise kids. That’s about it,” said Bruce Pritchard of The Blue Monkey Shop. “It’s not the kind of place that is exciting, to me anyway.”

Multiple law enforcement sources say investigators are zeroing in on two possible motives for the attack.

One involves extremist writings online, encouraging attacks on critical infrastructure. The other thread looks at a series of recent disruptions at LGBTQ events by domestic extremists.