North Carolina News – March 23, 2022

North Carolina News – March 23, 2022


William Peace University reconsiders name, slaveholder ties

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A small private college in North Carolina is considering a name change amid scrutiny of its namesake’s history as a slaveholder. William Peace University President Brian Ralph told WRAL-TV Tuesday that the school will hold a series of “listening sessions” with faculty, staff, students, alumni and others on whether to rename the school. Ralph’s remarks came as the university released findings from a task force that reviewed the school’s historical ties to slavery and white supremacy. The task force found that Peace owned more than 50 slaves, according to data from an 1860 census.


‘Leandro’ fast-tracked to justices; new judge directs review

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina’s Supreme Court has agreed to accelerate the process that will lead to likely another landmark ruling in school funding litigation known as “Leandro.” The justices granted a request to hear the matter in the coming months, rather than wait first for a ruling from the Court of Appeals. The justices didn’t immediately schedule arguments, but wants first a trial judge to examine education spending contained within the new state budget. Judge David Lee ordered in November that $1.75 billion in taxpayer money be spent to carry out a remedial education spending plan. But Lee won’t conduct the review. Chief Justice Paul Newby picked another judge.


Investigation: No adults involved in mock slave auction

PITTSBORO, N.C. (AP) — Officials say an investigation found that students at a North Carolina school pretended to “sell” Black classmates at a mock “slave auction” recently, but no adults were involved. News outlets reported Chatham County Schools officials said in a statement Monday that the code of conduct is being revised to ensure incidents like this are handled swiftly and with severe consequences from now on. Last week, a coalition of local groups called on the school board to address the situation at the J.S. Waters School in Goldston and require the instigators to apologize. Superintendent Anthony Jackson apologized and the school board adopted some policy changes.


Overdose deaths climb in North Carolina in 2020

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Overdose deaths in North Carolina increased by 40% in 2020 and continue to be on the rise. The state Department of Health and Human Services announced the data Monday. It counted more than 3,300 deaths from overdoses — that’s roughly nine per day. That’s also nearly 1,000 more deaths than in 2019. A full tally of overdose deaths in 2021 is not complete, but preliminary data shows a continued increase. More than 70% of fatal overdoses in 2020 involved fentanyl, an illicit opioid. State officials say the data in North Carolina mirrors national trends.


Reality TV star leaning on faith after son’s fatal shooting

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The owner of a North Carolina towing and repossession business featured in a reality television show says he’s leaning on faith and urging fans to stop violence in the wake of his son’s fatal shooting. Ronnie Shirley Jr. told WRAL-TV he doesn’t hate the two teenagers accused of killing his 21-year-old son, Alex, in Garner last month but said he doesn’t know if he can forgive them. Detectives discovered Alex Shirley’s body in a car at a gas station on Feb. 17. A 20-year-old woman was also wounded and is now paralyzed from the waist down. A total of five people have been charged in connection with the shooting.


Police: Missing NC man found dead in submerged car

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Police in North Carolina say a man reported missing last week when he failed to arrive at work has been found dead in an overturned car submerged in water. News outlets report that Raleigh police said 30-year-old Gregory Thomas of Wendell was found in the car Sunday near the intersection of New Bern Avenue and the Interstate 440 off-ramp. Police say the car was found down a steep embankment, overturned and submerged in water, police said. Thomas was reported missing Thursday after he didn’t arrive at work. Relatives said Thomas was driving in heavy rain and they were worried that his car could have gone off the road.


NC police: 3 dead, 2 wounded in hotel parking lot shootings

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — Police in a North Carolina city say three people were killed and two others wounded following reported shootings in a hotel parking lot. Fayetteville police officers say they went to the lot at the Baymont Ramada on Saturday night and found four people who had been shot. One shooting victim was pronounced dead at the scene, while two others later died. A fifth shooting victim located was being treated at a local hospital. Their names weren’t immediately released. The department’s homicide unit was investigating the shootings, and officers asked the public for any information about what happened.


Marine Corps identifies 4 killed in NATO exercise crash

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Marine Corps has identified the four Marines who died when their Osprey aircraft crashed Friday night in a Norwegian town in the Arctic Circle during a NATO exercise. All four were assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 261, Marine Aircraft Group 26, 2d Marine Aircraft Wing stationed on Marine Corps Air Station New River, North Carolina. They are Capt. Matthew J. Tomkiewicz, 27, of Fort Wayne, Indiana; Capt. Ross A. Reynolds, 27, of Leominster, Massachusetts; Gunnery Sgt. James W. Speedy, 30, of Cambridge, Ohio; and Cpl. Jacob M. Moore, 24, of Catlettsburg, Kentucky. The cause of the crash remains under investigation.