North Carolina News – December 21

North Carolina News – December 21


Chairman says tribe won’t get federal recognition this year

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The chairman of North Carolina’s Lumbee Tribe says it appears that the tribe will not be getting federal recognition this year. The Charlotte Observer reported that chairman Harvey Godwin Jr. posted a statement on Facebook on Sunday. He said that federal recognition would not be included in Congress’ year-end spending bill. There had been optimism earlier this year that the tribe would get recognition. There was support from President Donald Trump and President-elect Joe Biden. There was passage of a recognition bill in the U.S. House. North Carolina’s U.S. Sens. Richard Burr and Thom Tillis also backed the effort. Many of the tribe’s members live in North Carolina’s Robeson, Cumberland, Hoke and Scotland counties.


Police: Pregnant woman, unborn child killed in N. Carolina

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — Police say a pregnant woman was fatally shot during a domestic shooting in North Carolina. The Fayetteville Police Department said in a statement that responding officers found Sarah Lewis with multiple gunshot wounds at a Fayetteville home Sunday night. She was brought to a hospital, where she died. Police say the unborn baby also has died due to injuries sustained during the shooting. Officials say the suspect, Keith Lewis, died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Authorities did not provide information on the relationship was between the victim and the suspect. Police say there was a child at the home during the shooting but the child wasn’t injured.


Police find woman’s body after boyfriend charged with murder

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Police in North Carolina have found the body of a 26-year-old woman whose boyfriend was charged earlier this month with killing her. The Apex Police Department said Emily Montgomery’s body was found Saturday in Raleigh. The News & Observer reports that 29-year-old Jose Carlos Jacome-Granizo was arrested on Dec. 10 and charged with first-degree murder in Montgomery’s death. Montgomery was a single mother who lived in Apex, a town in Wake County. She was reported missing after her family hadn’t seen or heard from her since the night before Thanksgiving.


Police officer, suspect wounded in North Carolina shooting

KINGS MOUNTAIN, N.C. (AP) — A police officer in North Carolina and a suspect were shot and wounded in an exchange of gunfire on Saturday night. Kings Mountain Police Chief Lisa Proctor says the wounded officer, Cpl. Frank Lee Whittington Jr., was recovering from surgery early Sunday. Proctor says the severity of the wounded suspect’s injuries wasn’t immediately clear. The police chief says Whittington and the unidentified man exchanged gunfire after the officer responded to a call from a Cleveland County resident who reported seeing a suspicious person on the home’s back porch.


Doctor gets prison in plot to illegally dispense painkillers

ABINGDON, Va. (AP) — A North Carolina doctor has been sentenced to three years in prison for conspiring with his wife to illegally distribute prescription opioids. A federal judge in Virginia sentenced 57-year-old David Francis Lelio, 57, and his wife, 51-year-old Nadja Siiri Kujanson-Lelio, on Friday. Nadja Lelio was sentenced to six months of home detention. Both of them pleaded guilty in August to conspiracy charges. The Charlotte Observer reports that the scheme began to unravel in 2019 after a 63-year-old Virginia man died from an apparent overdose of fentanyl and heroin. The man’s 33-year-old son had been a patient of Lelio’s


North Carolina district attorney clears officers in shooting

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A district attorney says two North Carolina police officers were justified in fatally shooting a man who fired first after a gas station robbery in May. The News & Observer of Raleigh reports Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman says in a report that 24-year-old David Tylek Atkinson of Greensboro shot a police officer who was wearing a ballistic vest. A second officer spotted Atkinson and shot him. Freeman noted that the N.C. Supreme Court allows police to make split-second decisions and by law are justified in using deadly force when they think lives are in danger.


Justices side with NC lawmakers in grant challenge by Cooper

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The North Carolina Supreme Court has ruled the legislature can decide the details on how federal block grants are spent, even when they run counter to a governor’s wishes. A majority on the court upheld a Court of Appeals decision that declared the constitutional authority on how to appropriate those funds rests with the General Assembly. Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper unsuccessfully challenged the actions of Republican legislative leaders in the 2017 budget law over $17 million in federal funds. Friday’s ruling completes another chapter in the power struggles between Cooper and the state’s Republican leaders, House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate leader Phil Berger.


North Carolina prepares to vaccinate nursing home workers

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina public health officials are planning to vaccinate workers in long-term care facilities next week if and when the federal government ships out an approved Moderna coronavirus vaccine. The state is scheduled to receive fewer doses of the Pfizer vaccine than its initial batch. The state Department of Health and Human Services says it expects to receive more than 61,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine and 175,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine. Most of the doses from Moderna will go to staff in long-term care facilities like nursing homes and family care homes. The state has seen a sharp increase in coronavirus transmission.

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