More than 40,000 residents were left without electricity in freezing cold after two electric substations were damaged in a gunfire on Saturday evening in Moore County in Central North Carolina. A state of emergency was declared as curfew was imposed in the county on Sunday night following the attack declared as "intentional."
Curfew Imposed for Public Safety
The black-out which started just after 7 p.m. on Saturday, could possibly stretch till Thursday according to the Moore County Sheriff's Office, claimed The New York Times. Addressing a press conference, the Moore County sheriff, Ronnie Fields, said that the attack seemed to be targeted. The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation were also looking into the attack, he said.
Claiming that the curfew was imposed to ensure safety, State Senator Tom McInnis said, "It is going to be very, very, very dark, and it's going to be chilly tonight. And we don't need to have anyone out on the streets — that is the reason for our curfew this evening." The senator called the attack a "terrible act, which appeared to "intentional, willful and malicious."
Jeff Brooks, a spokesman for Duke Energy Corporation, was quoted y the outlet stating that the damage to the station would require extensive repairs that could last several days. "Unlike, perhaps, a storm where you can go in and reroute power somewhere else, that was not an option in this case. We do want citizens of the town to be prepared," said Brooks adding that the repairs could extend as far as Thursday.
Drag Show Organizers Received Violent Threats
While the exact motive behind the attack was not revealed by the authorities there were speculations that it was committed to stop a drag show being organized in the area on Saturday.
Speaking to The NYT Lauren Mathers, the executive director of Sandhills PRIDE, the L.G.B.T.Q. organization that produced the show, said that while the group had received violent threats leading up to the event, none indicated any kind of planned attack on the region's power grid.
The show was being organized in an old movie theater in Southern Pines, about 80 miles southwest of Raleigh on Saturday evening.
Theories are also afloat on social media about the involvement of Emily Grace Rainey, a former U.S. Army psychological operations officer in the power outage.
Rainey led a group to a rally in Washington, D.C. during Capitol riot. In a post made on her FB page Rainey wrote, "the power is out in Moore County, and I know why."
She was then questioned by the cops.
"I told them that God works in mysterious ways and is responsible for the outage. I used the opportunity to tell them about the immoral drag show and the blasphemies screamed by its supporters," she wrote in another post.