CARTHAGE, N.C. (WNCN) — Following a targeted attack on electrical substations in Moore County on Saturday, Governor Roy Cooper held a press conference on the situation Monday afternoon.
Following an internal briefing with emergency management officials, law enforcement and Duke Energy ahead of his statement, the Governor said, “Regardless of motive, violence and sabotage will not be tolerated.”
Following the attack, Cooper also said, “We know that there may be some things that need to change to make sure that our infrastructure is protected.
Moore County and Duke Energy officials previously said in a news conference on Sunday afternoon that restoring power could take days.
On Saturday, about 38,000 Duke Energy customers were without power after 7 p.m. when a power outage occurred due to intentional vandalism from gunfire directed at electrical substations, officials said.
See the full press conference below
Duke Energy said Sunday that the vandalism actually knocked power for 45,000 — some of which are outside Moore County.
In the news conference, Sheriff Ronnie Fields said Moore County is working to investigate with the FBI, SBI and other local officials. He also said that Duke Energy customers may be without power for the next few nights — possibly as late as Thursday.
Officials declared a county-wide state of emergency at 4 p.m. Sunday due to the power outage.
The county chairmen told residents to “reach out to each other” during this time.
According to officials, the damage was caused by gunfire and that replacement is the only option for some parts.
“The power outage was caused by intentional damage,” said Duke Energy spokesperson Jeff Brooks. “We are going to work until everyone’s power is restored.”
Moore County Schools also announced Sunday afternoon that all schools will be closed on Monday for students and staff.
Superintendent Tim Locklear also said that the county would make “day-by-day” decisions for school closures.
The North Carolina Senate Majority Whip Tom McInnis called the power outage a “malicious attack.”
“The perpetrator will be brought to justice under the fullest extent of the law,” he said.
Officials said a county-wide curfew would go into effect on Sunday night from 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. the next morning. Officials said they are also not ruling out more curfews in the coming days.
Sheriff Fields said that no motive or responsibility has been claimed by any group.
“We are looking at all avenues,” said Fields. “If you see something, say something.”
The Moore County Parks & Recreation Center at 155 Hillcrest Lane in Carthage will operate as a shelter beginning on Sunday for up to 250 people.