Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. EST
ELECTION 2020-SENATE-NORTH CAROLINA
Tillis holding cash advantage in North Carolina Senate race
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The leading fundraisers to date in North Carolina’s U.S. Senate race have announced largely similar contribution numbers for the previous three months.áRepublican incumbent Thom Tillis’ campaign says he took in $1.9 million for the fourth quarter. Democrat Cal Cunningham said earlier he raised $1.6 million. Tillis still appears to have had a significant cash advantage entering 2020. Friday is the deadline to file fourth-quarter reports. Five Democrats and four Republicans are running for their parties’ nominations in the March 3 primary. Tillis and Cunningham have already been running television ads.
COAST GUARD LIEUTENANT-HIT LIST
Judge to sentence Coast Guard officer accused of terror plot
GREENBELT, Md. (AP) – A Coast Guard lieutenant accused of stockpiling guns and drafting a hit list of prominent Democrats and TV journalists awaits sentencing for his guilty plea to firearms and drug offenses. Christopher Hasson faces a maximum of 31 years in prison when U.S. District Judge George Hazel sentences him on Friday. Federal prosecutors have recommended a 25-year prison sentence for Hasson. They have called him a domestic terrorist intent on carrying out mass killings. Defense attorneys urged Hazel to spare Hasson from a prison term. Hasson’s lawyers accused prosecutors of fabricating a bogus narrative that he was planning a terrorist attack.
DEATH AFTER ARREST
Police: State to investigate man’s death after his arrest
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – Police in North Carolina have requested that the state investigate the death of a man who died after being taken into custody. News outlets report Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said Thursday that the State Bureau of Investigation has been asked to conduct an independent review of the death of 41-year-old Harold Easter. He was arrested Jan. 23 and had a medical emergency during the booking process. Easter died Sunday. Four officers and a sergeant are on administrative leave. One of the officers, Brentley Vinson, was cleared in the 2016 shooting death of Keith Lamont Scott. That shooting sparked days of unrest.
FLU DEATHS-NORTH CAROLINA
North Carolina flu death toll reaches 54 after latest report
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Nine people died in North Carolina last week from complications of the flu, raising the death toll for the 2019-20 season to 54. In addition to last week’s deaths, the Winston-Salem Journal reports four deaths occurred in previous weeks. Of the 54 deaths during the season, 31 were 65 years old or older, 12 were ages 50 to 64, 10 were ages 25 to 49 and one was ages 5 to 17. Citing privacy reasons, the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services doesn’t reveal hometowns, counties, ages or gender of flu victims.
BAR SHOOTING-SOUTH CAROLINA
2nd man charged in SC bar shooting that killed 3 people
HARTSVILLE, S.C. (AP) – Authorities say a second man has been charged in a shooting at a South Carolina bar that killed three people. Hartsville Police say 24-year-old Davijon McCall was arrested at a Durham, North Carolina, apartment and charged with murder. Police say McCall fired a gun in the shooting around 2 a.m. Sunday at Mac’s Lounge in Hartsville, Two people died shorty after the shooting and a college student from Maryland died from his injuries days later. Three others were injured. Investigators are still trying to sift through evidence and more arrests are possible. Authorities still have not released details on how many people fired or what led to the shooting.
Raleigh-Durham airport staffer charged with ‘secret peeping’
MORRISVILLE, N.C. (AP) – Raleigh-Durham International Airport officials say an employee has been charged with secret peeping after authorities were tipped off about “potential illegal activity” at the airport. News outlets report that 30-year-old Brennan Stevenson was arrested Wednesday by Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority law enforcement. Officials told WRAL-TV that he has since been removed from his position as a contract compliance officer and is not allowed on airport property. Police say Stevenson is charged with the felonies of possessing and disseminating an image obtained through secret peeping. It’s unclear whether he has an attorney who can comment on his behalf.
EMERGENCY TEAM-PUERTO RICO
North Carolina emergency response team goes to Puerto Rico
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A 12-member team from North Carolina is spending two weeks in Puerto Rico helping islanders deal with earthquake damage. The state Division of Emergency Management says structural engineers, an architect and search and rescue team are assessing damage from the earthquakes and aftershocks that began in late December.áThey’re focusing first on residences to make sure they’re structurally sound enough for families to return home. Puerto Rico’s emergency management office requested the help through a mutual-assistance compact. North Carolina also provided extensive help to Puerto Rico in late 2017, after Hurricane Maria.
N Carolina surplus, budget impasse mean lots of cash unspent
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina state government coffers are more flush than in recent memory as 2020 began. Analysts from both the legislative and executive branches agree state revenues are about $290 million ahead of expectations through the first half of this fiscal year. Growing individual income tax collections are the main reason. North Carolina has had revenue surpluses five years in a row. But the state’s financial accounts also are higher now because a full two-year state budget has never been finalized, leading to money going unspent. As of Dec. 31, more than $2 billion had not been earmarked for anything in the state’s accounts.