The FBI is analyzing bullet casings found near electrical installations in North Carolina and South Carolina, a law enforcement memo revealed on Friday, after gunfire in North Carolina led to nearly 96 hours of darkness in a county.
“Targeted attacks” at two Duke Energy substations in Moore County, North Carolina on Saturday night knocked out power to 45,000 homes and businesses before local power was restored Wednesday night.
And as the last of those dimmed lights came on, shots were fired near Duke Energy’s Wateree hydroelectric station in Ridgeway, South Carolina, about 130 miles south of Moore County, said officials.
A man hanging from the passenger side of a hatchback opened fire with a rifle shortly after 4:30 p.m., witnesses told Kershaw County Sheriff’s Deputies.
The shots took place about half a mile from the power plant and Sheriff Lee Boan said Thursday there was no immediate evidence the shooter was targeting the power supplier.
“I currently have no reason to believe that this shooting had anything to do with an attack on the hydro plant,” Sheriff Boan said. “At the moment, I just don’t see the connection between the two.”
Nobody lost power in the shootout in South Carolina.
So far, there’s no indication whether the North Carolina attacks have anything to do with Wednesday night’s shootings in South Carolina, according to a law enforcement memo reviewed by NBC News.
Authorities have not publicly disclosed any possible motive for the shooting in North Carolina. But investigators are sifting through a host of online conspiracy theories to determine whether it could have played a role in the attacks, two senior law enforcement officials briefed on the case told NBC News.
A prevailing theory that took hold on social media was that the outages were aimed at shutting down a drag show at a theater in downtown Southern Pines, North Carolina. Other potential motives, such as a disgruntled current or former employee, have not been ruled out.
David K. Li contributed.