Latest North Carolina News:
NORTH CAROLINA-DEPUTY SHOOTING
Sheriff: Deputies who didn’t fire at Black man back on duty
ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina sheriff says four deputies involved in the case of a Black man who was fatally shot last week have returned to active duty after a review of body camera video showed they did not fire their weapons. Pasquotank County Sheriff Tommy Wooten announced in a news release Thursday that he has restored to duty four out of the seven deputies who were placed on administrative leave after the shooting death of Andrew Brown Jr. Wooten released the names of all seven deputies who went to Brown’s residence to serve arrest and search warrants. He said the three deputies who fired their weapons will remain on leave until an investigation is completed.
Sheriff: Heavily armed gunman among 5 dead in home standoff
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) – Authorities say a gunman who killed himself, two deputies and his mother and stepfather in a 13-hour home standoff in North Carolina had a large cache of weapons and may have been contemplating an attack in public. Watauga County Sheriff Len Hagaman identified the dead on Thursday. He said George Wyatt Ligon and his wife Michelle were dead along with the shooting suspect, 32-year-old Isaac Alton Barnes. Barnes was Michelle Ligon’s son and the man’s stepson. Hagaman said family members had expressed concerns about the large number of weapons in Barnes’ possession and what he might try to do.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-RELIEF FUNDS
NC lawmakers looking at billions more in federal virus aid
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina legislators are starting to fill in more details on distributing the latest tranches of coronavirus relief money approved in Washington. The Senate’s budget-writing committee recommended on Thursday legislation that would formally appropriate well over $6 billion allocated for North Carolina in the American Rescue Plan approved by Congress. That law already determined how this money must be used. This legislation doesn’t address spending $5 billion more earmarked for North Carolina. Lawmakers have more discretion in how to spend that cash. Thursday’s bill also adjusts a state law limiting how much rental and utility aid could be awarded in each county.
NC Sen. Tillis says he feels great after cancer surgery
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis says he feels great following prostate cancer surgery earlier this month. The second-term Republican senator told Charlotte TV station WCNC this week that he was diagnosed at the height of his reelection campaign last fall. The station says a routine physical and PSA blood test revealed the possibility of prostate cancer. Tillis defeated Democratic candidate Cal Cunningham in November. He says he’s slowly adding exercise back into his routine, and is aiming to skydive on his 61st birthday in August.
DEPUTY SHOOTING-BODY CAMERA LAW
North Carolina body camera law comes under harsh glare
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina law that gives local courts authority over the release of body camera video has come under a harsh glare after a judge refused to make public footage of deputies shooting and killing Andrew Brown Jr. The 2016 law says that law enforcement video is not a public record and generally cannot be released without court approval. A judge ruled Wednesday that body camera and dashboard footage in Brown’s death must be kept from public view for at least another month to avoid harming a state investigation. The April 21 shooting happened as deputies were serving drug-related warrants at Brown’s home in Elizabeth City.
EXTRA CREDIT GRANTS-AUDIT
Audit: Hurdles slowed COVID-19 grants to poor families in NC
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina state audit says the details and timing of a coronavirus relief grant program created last year by the General Assembly made it more difficult for low-income families to obtain payments. State Auditor Beth Wood released on Thursday a performance audit of the “Extra Credit Grant” program, which was carried out by the Department of Revenue. Families received $335 to assist with virtual schooling and child-care costs during the pandemic. The performance audit found low-income families didn’t receive payments because of the additional administrative steps during a short window of time. The grant application already has been extended to May 31.
NC House speaker: Transgender sports bill has been set aside
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina’s House speaker says the legislature won’t advance legislation preventing transgender girls and women from competing in school sports labeled for biologically female athletes. Speaker Tim Moore tells The Associated Press there’s not a need to take up the “Save Women’s Sports Act” and questioned whether there would be enough votes for it to become law. The inaction marks another decision by Republicans to step away from controversial LGBT legislation. The Senate won’t vote on legislation that sought to limit medical treatments for transgender people under 21. The sports bill’s sponsor says he’s disappointed but thinks the issue will resurface.
DUKE ENERGY-HELICOPTER CRASH
Officials: 1 dead, 2 hurt in North Carolina helicopter crash
EDEN, N.C. (AP) – A Duke Energy spokesman says the pilot of a company helicopter died after the aircraft crashed in a wooded area in North Carolina. Spokesman Jeff Brooks confirmed that the pilot died in Wednesday’s crash, but didn’t identify the pilot or offer any other details. The Federal Aviation Administration says a Bell 429 helicopter crashed while the pilot was conducting power line work in Eden when the aircraft went down. The FAA says three people were aboard the helicopter, and emergency personnel says two passengers were taken to separate hospitals. An investigator from the National Transportation Safety Board was expected to arrive at the crash site on Thursday.