Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. EDT
NORTH CAROLINA-DISPUTED ELECTION
Early voting sites open in 9th District primary for US House
MONROE, N.C. (AP) – Republican and unaffiliated voters can start casting early ballots in the North Carolina special congressional election prompted by findings of ballot fraud.
Early-voting sites open on Wednesday through May 10 in the 9th congressional district’s eight counties. Six counties have just one early-voting site open on weekdays during regular business hours. Mecklenburg County has seven sites.
Republican primary candidate and State Sen. Dan Bishop of Charlotte raised the most money through March. The National Association of Realtors’ political action committee is spending more than $1 million to support Realtor Leigh Brown.
A Washington, D.C. anti-tax group’s political action committee endorsed Bishop and bought ads targeting GOP rival Stony Rushing. The Club for Growth says Bishop can win the GOP nomination without a September run-off between the top two finishers.
CURRITUCK SOUND BRIDGE-LAWSUIT
Groups file lawsuit over approval of North Carolina bridge
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) – Local residents, hunters and wildlife enthusiasts have filed a lawsuit challenging approval by state and federal officials of a proposed new bridge on the North Carolina coast.
The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Raleigh.
A news release from the Southern Environmental Law Center on Tuesday says the $500 million Mid Currituck Bridge would lead to growth in undisturbed areas along the northern Outer Banks. The center’s attorney says the Federal Highway Administration and the N.C. Department of Transportation have failed to consider less damaging and less expensive alternatives.
The groups also claim that NCDOT has shut the public out of the decision-making process. They say there has been no public analysis of the bridge and no opportunity for the public to weigh in on options since 2012.
Police investigate fight between hockey player, fan
(Information from: Winston-Salem Journal, http://www.journalnow.com)
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) – Police in North Carolina are investigating a fight involving a hockey player and a fan at a recent game.
The Winston-Salem Journal reports police say Elmira Enforcers goaltender Troy Passingham was walking to his locker room after a game with the Carolina Thunderbirds last Saturday when a fan squirted him with water.
The newspaper cites a video which it said showed Passingham either threw his equipment or took a punch at the fan, who is seen falling down. A person identified as the wife of Thunderbirds owner Barry Soskin also fell down.
Carolina and Elmira are playing for the Federal Hockey League championship. League Commissioner Don Kirnan said a conference call scheduled for Tuesday would determine what punishments will be handed down.
Smokies announces dates for synchronous firefly viewing
GATLINBURG, Tenn. (AP) – Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials are announcing the predicted peak dates for viewing the park’s synchronous fireflies this year.
A news release says the fireflies are expected to exhibit their unique synchronous flashing between May 30 and June 6. All visitors wishing to view the fireflies during this period must have a parking pass distributed by lottery.
The lottery is open for applications April 26-29. Applications are available at www.recreation.gov or by calling 1-877-444-6777.
The application fee is $1 and successful applicants will be charged a $24 reservation fee.
The park has limited access to the Elkmont area during the predicted peak activity of the fireflies since 2006. That’s in order to reduce traffic and minimize the disturbance to the fireflies during the critical two-week mating period.
POLICE SHOOTING-NORTH CAROLINA
Police: Man shot, killed by officer pulled a knife
(Information from: The News & Observer, http://www.newsobserver.com)
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A 911 audio tape released by a North Carolina police department indicates a man shot and killed by an officer had pulled a knife.
Raleigh police said 30-year-old Soheil Antonio Mojarrad was killed last Saturday night at a shopping center on the city’s east side.
The News & Observer of Raleigh reports police responded to a call at 8:30 p.m. Saturday about a person trespassing at a gas station. Three minutes later, an officer reported “shots fired” and “He’s got a knife.” The officer then called for an ambulance and repeated that the man was “armed with a knife. He pulled a knife … Suspect is down.”
According to police, Raleigh police and agents with the State Bureau of Investigation were reviewing other video related to the incident.
CAR CRASH-DROWNING DEATH
Sheriff: Man drowns in ditch after wreck
KINSTON, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina sheriff says a man who was involved in a car crash may have died when he got out of his car and collapsed into some standing water.
News outlets report Lenoir County Sheriff Ronnie Ingram says the man apparently crashed his car into a drainage ditch last Sunday. The crash followed heavy rains which fell in the area on Friday and Saturday.
The sheriff’s office received reports of a body on the side of a Kinston road on Sunday. Investigators believe the unidentified man freed himself from the car, but collapsed into the ditch where there was standing water. They think the man then drowned.
Ingram said an autopsy is being performed, and adds that foul play is not suspected.
Officials: 9 inmates injured in North Carolina prison riot
SALISBURY, N.C. (AP) – Officials say nine inmates were injured during a riot at a North Carolina prison.
The N.C. Department of Public Safety says the riot occurred around 2:15 p.m. on Monday at Piedmont Correctional Institution in Salisbury and involved inmates fighting each other.
Department spokesman John M.R. Bull says none of the prison staff was injured.
According to Bull, nine inmates were taken for outside medical attention. Eight were treated and returned to the prison, and one was hospitalized for what he described as apparent non-life threatening injuries.
Bull said the prison remains on lockdown and authorities haven’t said when it will be lifted.
The prison is conducting an investigation into what happened, who participated and the motive. Bull said his department will cooperate with Salisbury police in any investigation.
LOADED AK-47-CHILD’S BED
2 charged after loaded AK-47 found under toddler’s bed
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (AP) – Police in North Carolina have arrested two people after finding marijuana and a loaded AK-47 under the bed of a 2-year-old child.
News outlets report Fayetteville police say drug and child abuse charges were filed against 32-year-old Sergio F. Weeks and 25-year-old Alysha J. Smith. In addition, police charged Weeks with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
According to police, officers responding to a Crime Stoppers tip were able to verify the tipster’s information and obtained a warrant to search a home. Inside the home, they found nearly a pound of marijuana and various drug paraphernalia in addition to the AK-47.
Weeks and Smith have been released on bond. It’s not known if they have an attorney.