Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 3:20 p.m. EDT
Energy company worker hurt in North Carolina explosion dies
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) – An energy company employee who was critically injured in a natural gas explosion in North Carolina has died.
UNC Medical Center spokesman Tom Hughes confirmed Thursday that 51-year-old Jay Rambeaut of Creedmoor died. Hughes didn’t say when Rambeaut died, citing hospital policy.
Rambeaut, who worked for PSNC Energy, was among the first on the scene in Durham when a gas leak was reported a half-hour before the explosion on April 10. Firefighters were working to get people out of nearby buildings when the explosion occurred.
Rambeaut’s family has said as a result of the explosion, he had 150 holes in his chest from debris as well as a skull fracture and debris in his brain.
A coffee shop owner died and 25 others were injured, including nine firefighters.
UNC PROTEST-CONFEDERATE MONUMENTS
UNC racism, police violence protest leads to broken window
(Information from: The News & Observer, http://www.newsobserver.com)
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) – Some students at the University of North Carolina broke a window while trying to deliver a list of demands to the school’s interim chancellor.
The News & Observer reports campus police say the Chapel Hill protesters found their destination closed Wednesday, so some of them pounded on the building, shattering at least one window. No one was injured or charged.
The protesters have been demonstrating for months about the Confederate Silent Sam monument and its removal. They say police unfairly target them at events where they clash with supporters of the statue.
Interim Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz named members this week to a new commission on campus policing. He said an outside consultant will review previous clashes.
N Carolina weighs parole for 2 who murdered acquaintances
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Two North Carolina killers serving life sentences for murdering family or acquaintances could be out on the streets in coming years.
The state parole commission said Thursday it is studying whether to grant parole to 49-year-old Arthur Vause and 58-year-old Dwight Dobson. Both were convicted of first-degree murder.
Vause stabbed his stepmother to death in 1988 after she allowed him and his girlfriend to stay in her Greensboro apartment. Vause left the body in the home, stole his stepmother’s car and $300 and tried to flee to Canada before giving up in Ohio.
Dobson was selling alcoholic drinks inside a Winston-Salem house in 1992 when he demanded a share of the money being wagered in a card game. Dobson shot and killed a bigger man who challenged his demands.
Parents say daughter pulled from rip current is brain dead
GREENVILLE, N.C. (AP) – The father of a North Carolina high school student who was pulled from rough surf last weekend says his daughter is brain dead.
News outlets reported police department cited witnesses who said 18-year-old Ian Frazier Lewis was swimming last Friday with friends, including 17-year-old Mary Paige Merical, when they were caught in rip currents. Lewis disappeared, but police said his body was found on a portion of the beach strand on Monday.
Merical was rescued and hospitalized, but John Merical, Paige’s father, posted to his Facebook page that “Paige fought a tough fight, but her brain was too severely damaged.”
John Merical said his daughter’s organs will be donated on Saturday and that by next week, “Paige will live on (through) others.”
SEXUAL HARASSMENT LAWSUIT
N Carolina man settles claims he sexually harassed renters
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina man accused of sexually harassing 17 female renters or home buyers is settling a lawsuit with the government by paying the women $550,000 and exiting the real estate business.
The U.S. Justice Department said Thursday it resolved its lawsuit with Robert Hatfield of Wilkesboro accusing him of violating federal fair housing and credit laws.
The agreement Hatfield signed earlier this month specifies that he denies groping tenants and offering to cut or erase down payments or unpaid rent in exchange for sexual favors.
The settlement permanently bars Hatfield from the rental, sale, or financing of residential properties. He’s required to give up his ownership in all rental properties.
The Justice Department said the lawsuit is one of nine nationwide since 2017 that attacked sexual harassment in housing.
FORT BRAGG POWER OUTAGE
Power outage hits N Carolina Army base Fort Bragg
FORT BRAGG, N.C. (AP) – Fort Bragg Army base in North Carolina is suffering a widespread power outage.
News outlets report the base first mentioned the blackout late Wednesday and said no one knew when the power would return. A statement released early Thursday said the base is still open though many facilities are closed.
The outage also affected restaurants and commissaries on the base, which hosts about 52,000 soldiers.
The on-base Womack Army Medical Center says it’s operating under reduced capacity and certain appointments at all on-base clinics will need to be rescheduled.
The base says visitors should call 911 to report suspicious activity and service members should contact their chain of command to learn when to report for duty.
Kentucky police: Crashed plane may have been stolen; 2 dead
HENDERSON, Ky. (AP) – Kentucky State Police say they’ve identified two North Carolina men who died in a small plane crash in Kentucky and neither are certified pilots.
Police said in a statement Thursday that the plane they were flying is believed to have been either stolen or used without permission from the registered owner.
The statement identifies the men who died as 47-year-old Barry A. Hill and 48-year-old George Tucker, both of Sanford, North Carolina. Police say they think the private aircraft was taken from Rome, North Carolina.
Henderson City-County Airport workers discovered the wreckage around 7 a.m. Wednesday when the airport was opening.
Henderson County Coroner Bruce Farmer said the two occupants were found dead inside the plane and are believed to have died on impact.
POLICE SHOOT ARMED MAN
Video: Officer who fatally shot man said she had no choice
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina police officer who fatally shot a black man in a parking lot after repeatedly ordering him to drop his gun was heard on bodycam video saying several times that she had no choice.
An 11-minute bodycam video released Wednesday by Charlotte-Mecklenburg police shows the moments leading up to and after the shooting of 27-year-old Danquirs Napoleon Franklin outside a Burger King on March 25.
Officer Wende Kerl shot and killed Franklin. She was heard saying, “He pulled a gun. He wouldn’t drop it.” Later, she said, “All I know is I shot because he had a gun in his hand.”
A person could be heard groaning on the video, while a person inside the car where Franklin was shot was heard to say, “This is crazy, man.”