Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. EST
N. Carolina officer shot, wounded; 2 suspects in custody
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Police in North Carolina say an officer was shot several times while trying to take a suspect into custody.
Raleigh Police say the male officer was wounded Wednesday night and hospitalized. Police Chief Cassandra Deck-Brown said Thursday morning the officer was out of surgery but didn’t elaborate on his condition.
One suspect was arrested Wednesday night, while the other was caught hours later after a manhunt that shut down a nearby highway and neighborhood.
A police news release said Cedric Jamal Kearney, 24, faces charges including attempted murder and assault on a law enforcement officer with a firearm. A second suspect, Antonio Dequan Fletcher, 21, was charged with possessing a stolen firearm. It wasn’t clear if they had attorneys; phone listings for them couldn’t be found in an online search.
Ex-officer accuses chief, city of slander in police beating
(Information from: The Asheville Citizen-Times, http://www.citizen-times.com)
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – An ex-North Carolina police officer says Asheville and its former police chief used her as a scapegoat during the case of a white officer filmed beating a black pedestrian.
The Asheville Citizen-Times reported Wednesday that former Sgt. Lisa Taube is suing Asheville and former police Chief Tammy Hooper for slander and libel.
Hooper publicly criticized and disciplined Taube for her response to the August 2017 beating of Johnnie Jermaine Rush, who was accused of jaywalking.
Former officer Christopher Hickman is charged with felony assault in the beating, which was recording by police body cameras. The city settled for $650,000.
Taube was Hickman’s supervisor. Then-city manager Gary Jackson said Taube didn’t immediately review body camera video or share case notes.
The city has said Taube doesn’t have a viable case.
SESSION OPENS-THE LATEST
The Latest: Hunt leaving to others to decide on ballot probe
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A new North Carolina House member says it’s up to election officials to decide whether more investigation is needed of mail-in absentee ballots cast in her close legislative race last fall.
Democratic Rep. Rachel Hunt of Mecklenburg County was seated Wednesday with the other legislators who won in November. A conservative Christian group late Tuesday had asked the chamber and Speaker Tim Moore to prevent her from taking her seat after providing documentation about what it called ballot “irregularities” in the 103rd House District. Hunt defeated incumbent Republican Bill Brawley by just 68 votes.
GOP Rep. David Lewis said Hunt was seated because she was duly certified as the winner by the state elections board and secretary of state. Lewis said there are procedures to remove a member if investigations later show the election was significantly tainted.
Hunt is the daughter of former four-term Gov. Jim Hunt.
Ethics complaint filed against N Carolina speaker dismissed
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – An ethics complaint filed against North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore involving his business interests and interactions with state environmental regulators has been dismissed.
Moore released Wednesday last month’s dismissal from the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement. The board’s decision is generally confidential, but involved parties may disclose documents.
The head of the nonprofit Washington-based Campaign for Accountability filed the complaint last March. Daniel Stevens accused Moore of working to delay penalties against his company involving underground fuel tanks at an old poultry plant site the company was trying to sell, contributing to monetary gain.
The dismissal says board staff found relatively quick action by Moore’s company to address environmental problems, combined with the company’s failure to file a document, caused miscommunication over whether a delay was appropriate.
ROCKY MOUNT MURDERS
4 teens arrested for murder in North Carolina town
ROCKY MOUNT, N.C. (AP) – Police have arrested four teenagers in connection with one of three shooting deaths in a North Carolina town last weekend.
News sources report Rocky Mount police said 18-year-olds Tracy Lamont Collins Jr. and Khalil Jywon Davis, along with a 17-year-old and a 15-year-old, have been arrested for the Jan. 6 shooting death of 20-year-old Mikel Sheridan.
According to police, Davis was arrested Wednesday and Collins was arrested on Tuesday. Along with the 17-year-old, they are being held without bond in the Nash County jail. The 15-year-old is being held in the Wake County Juvenile Detention Center. All are charged with first-degree murder.
The other murders happened Saturday night when two men were shot to death on the same street. There have been no arrests in either case.
Sheriff: North Carolina deputy shot, wounded suspect
MORGAN, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina sheriff’s office says a deputy has shot and wounded a suspect during a fight in Rutherford County.
County Sheriff Chris Francis tells news outlets the deputy was also wounded in the Wednesday night fight. Authorities didn’t immediately release the identities or conditions of those involved.
He says the deputy confronted the occupants of a suspicious vehicle near Morgan and learned of active warrants against one of the occupants. It’s unclear what charges the suspect is wanted on.
The sheriff says the suspect then fled with the deputy in pursuit. He says the two fought, and the suspect tried to grab one of the deputy’s weapons and was shot.
The state Bureau of Investigation is investigating.
APPALACHIAN REGIONAL COMMISSION-COOPER
Cooper leading Appalachian Regional Commission in 2019
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper is the next co-chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission, a partnership between the federal government and 13 states designed to help the region’s economy.
Cooper’s elevation during 2019 – announced Wednesday – marks the first time in more than 40 years that North Carolina’s governor has held the co-chair’s role. The commission is an economic development agency that focuses on over 400 counties from Mississippi to New York, of which almost 30 are in North Carolina.
Cooper’s leadership position means the commission will hold its annual summit in Asheville in September.
The commission says it approved $126 million in funding for over 500 economic projects during the past fiscal year.
Wood pellet maker plans $200M investment in Mississippi
LUCEDALE, Miss. (AP) – A company that makes wood pellets burned for fuel in overseas power plants is moving forward with plans for a $140 million pellet mill and a $60 million ship-loading terminal on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
Enviva LP spokeswoman Maria Moreno said the Maryland company signed agreements with leaders Monday in George and Jackson counties. She says the company won’t finalize investment until environmental permits are approved for facilities in Lucedale and Pascagoula.
The company expects to hire about 90 workers in Lucedale. As many as 300 loggers and truckers could find work supplying logs to Enviva.
George County Development Director Ken Flanagan says county supervisors approved property tax abatements cutting a projected $13 million or more from Enviva’s property taxes over 10 years. The state earlier gave Enviva $4 million.