Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. EDT
FBI: Man threatened Muslim candidate, synagogue in posts
ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina man charged with anonymously threatening to lynch a Muslim-American political candidate in Virginia also is accused of posting an anti-Semitic threat on a Florida synagogue’s Facebook page. An FBI agent outlined those allegations against 52-year-old Joseph Vandevere in an affidavit unsealed before his initial court appearance Wednesday in North Carolina.
The affidavit says investigators linked Vandevere to a threatening comment posted in February 2018 on the website of a synagogue in Plantation, Florida.
Vandevere is charged with interstate communication of a threat to injure a person for a tweet directed at Virginia state Senate candidate Qasim Rashid. The tweet included a picture of a lynching and read, “VIEW YOUR DESTINY.”
Rashid posted a screenshot of the threatening tweet in March 2018 and reported it to the FBI.
Health officials warn of fake ads for water testing
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina health officials are warning residents about fake advertisements for free water testing, amid concerns that private well water may be contaminated with radiological chemicals.
Last month, Wake County officials began notifying more than 20,000 households on private wells that drinking water may have unhealthy levels of uranium and radon. Now, county officials say someone has distributed flyers and test tubes to residents claiming to be from the county.
Spokesman John Hamlin told The News & Observer the flyers have an image of the official mailing to residents, but aren’t from the county.
Water Quality Director Michael Orbon says the size of the bottle included is not what would be used to test water. The paper reports the phone number provided re-routes to a cellphone, not a state-certified lab.
US Attorney: NC man had gun silencer, planned federal attack
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A U.S. Attorney in North Carolina announced a man has been sentenced to five years in federal prison for reportedly planning to shoot into Raleigh’s federal building.
U.S. Attorney Matthew G.T. Martin announced the sentencing of 56-yearold Bobby John Kobito on Tuesday.
A March indictment revealed Kobito told a confidential informant he believed federal authorities in Raleigh were “spying on everybody,” and had alluded to wanting to target federal departments.
Authorities were altered to Kobito last January when he visited a Raleigh mosque. The FBI informant later contacted Kobito and Kobito told the informant he was doing “hardcore recon” there.
Kobito also said he’d built his own gun silencer. Later, at a Burlington gun range, Kobito reportedly discussed targeting federal departments.
Authorities found two unregistered silencers at Kobito’s home in October.
Trump to hold 2020 rally on day of Mueller’s testimony
WASHINGTON (AP) – President Donald Trump will be holding a campaign rally in North Carolina on July 17 – the day that former special counsel Robert Mueller is expected to testify before Congress.
Trump’s reelection campaign has announced he will host a “Keep America Great” rally at Williams Arena in Greenville that evening.
Mueller is scheduled to publicly testify before the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees. Democrats are hoping to draw more attention to the report that Mueller gave to the Justice Department in March. It detailed Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and reviewed several episodes in which Trump tried to influence Mueller’s probe.
Trump has frequently criticized Democrats’ efforts to get Mueller to testify. The president tweeted Tuesday that “this Witch Hunt must now end,” adding, “No more Do Overs.”
BARBER-JULY 4TH SERMON
Poor People’s Campaign leader to speak about immigrants
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The Rev. William Barber will talk about political violence against immigrants and people of color in a sermon inspired by a speech that Frederick Douglass gave to mark the Fourth of July holiday in 1852.
The president of Repairers of the Breach and co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign will give a sermon Wednesday at Pullen Memorial Church in Raleigh titled “What to the Immigrant and People of Color is the Fourth of July?”
Barber’s sermon is inspired by the Douglass speech, “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?”
The service organized by Repairers of the Breach, the North Carolina Poor People’s Campaign, El Centro Hispano, El Colectivo NC, and other immigrant justice organizations, activists and clergy.
NEW LICENSE PLATE
North Carolina, US mottos on new state standard plate
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina vehicle owners now have another option from which to choose when it comes to the state’s regularly priced license plate.
The Division of Motor Vehicles began offering a third standard plate this week.
Previously motorists could choose between the “First in Flight” background or the “First in Freedom” theme, which refers to pre-Revolutionary War events. Now they can pick a plate with the national motto “In God We Trust” at the top and the state motto “To Be Rather Than To Seem” near the bottom. A 2018 law directed that DMV create the new option.
DMV says current vehicle owners can request the new plate at no additional charge when they renew their car registration. They’ll pay a standard charge if it’s requested at another time.
HOUSE EXPLOSION-NORTH CAROLINA
Woman found dead in North Carolina home after fire, blast
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – A woman has been found dead in the remains of a home leveled by a fire and explosion in North Carolina’s largest city.
Charlotte Fire Battalion Chief Matt Westover told reporters that the woman’s body was found Tuesday night, nearly seven hours after the blast was reported by a man trapped in the home.
Chief Reginald Johnson said the man, described as a resident, was hospitalized with life-threatening injuries. It’s unclear what caused the blast.
Westover declined to say if the woman was a resident, citing the pending investigation. Authorities didn’t immediately release their identities.
The CEO of Raleigh General Hospital in Beckley, West Virginia, told WSOC-TV that the man is a hospital cardiologist named Jebran Karam. CEO Matt Roberts says Karam and his wife bought the home in 2015.
DAYCARE CLOSED-INFANT HURT
North Carolina closes daycare where infant was dropped
SNEADS FERRY, N.C. (AP) – State officials have closed a North Carolina daycare where a worker is accused of intentionally dropping an 11-month-old boy last month.
News outlets report the corporate office of Childcare Network confirms that the state closed its daycare at Sneads Ferry until further notice.
Police have charged 23-year-old Bethan Pringle with felony child abuse inflicting serious bodily injury. An investigation showed that Pringle hurt the 11-month-old boy on purpose on June 10.
Also, Childcare Network said Pringle, another teacher in the room at the time of the incident and the school’s director have been fired. The daycare’s infant room has been closed.
Onslow County Sheriff’s Office Col. Chris Thomas says deputies were still investigating and reviewing surveillance video from the daycare, adding that more charges could be filed.