Teen charged in shooting that injured 3 people at NC mall
GASTONIA, N.C. (AP) — A 17-year-old boy has been charged in a shooting that wounded three people at a North Carolina mall. Gastonia Police Chief Travis Brittain says two men and a woman were taken to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries after they were shot in the parking lot of the Eastridge Mall on Friday. Two of them fled into the mall’s food court area after being shot. The Charlotte Observer reports that investigators are trying to determine if the teenage suspect and any of the victims knew each other. The teen was arrested on felony charges, including assault with a deadly weapon, after police found him in a wooded area near the mall Friday.
HEALTH PLAN-TRANSGENDER COVERAGE
Judge: NC health plan must cover transgender treatments
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) — A federal judge has ordered the North Carolina state employee health plan provide “medically necessary services” for transgender people linked to gender confirmation. U.S. District Judge Loretta Biggs ruled Friday it was unlawfully biased for the State Health Plan to exclude coverage for such treatments. The plan had offered such coverage in 2017 but stopped doing so afterward. Monetary damages could be decided after a trial next month. The office of State Treasurer Dale Folwell oversees the plan. Folwell said he believe the case warranted a jury trial on whether taxpayers should pay for such surgeries.
Official: 1 dead, 3 hurt when fireworks explode in farm fire
LA GRANGE, N.C. (AP) — Authorities say a brush fire on a North Carolina farm caused fireworks in a container to explode, killing one person and injuring three firefighters. Lenoir County Emergency Services Director Murry Stroud told broadcast outlet WITN of Greenville that one person was confirmed dead and three firefighters were hurt Friday, one of them critically. Stroud says firefighters were dispatched to handle a reported brush fire at a farm in La Grange. He said fields were being burned off at the farm when the fire detonated fireworks in a container. The identities of the dead person and injured firefighters were not immediately released.
NC board certifies results of May 17 elections
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina election officials say audits of last month’s statewide primary and municipal elections showed machine counts were extremely accurate. The State Board of Elections certified the May 17 results on Thursday after tabulations of all eligible ballots were finalized. The certification followed audits by county boards and the state board. State law requires bipartisan teams in all 100 counties conduct hand counts among two randomly selected ballot groups. The board says hand and machine counts were identical in 90% of the groups. The average count difference elsewhere by county was very slight. Nearly 20% of the state’s registered voters participated in the elections.
BABY DEATH-FATHER SENTENCED
North Carolina man gets 20 years in infant son’s death
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina man has been sentenced to at least 20 years in prison after he was convicted of causing injuries that led to his 7-month-old son’s death in 2019. The Winston-Salem Journal reports Christion Vaughn Jones Sr. was facing a first-degree murder charge, but pleaded guilty in Forsyth Superior Court on Thursday to second-degree murder and intentional child abuse, inflicting serious bodily injury. Despite life-saving efforts by his grandmother and emergency personnel, the boy died at a local hospital. An arrest warrant showed the child suffered multiple internal injuries.
NORTH CAROLINA MALL SHOOTING
3 wounded in shooting at North Carolina mall food court
GASTONIA, N.C. (AP) — Police say three people were being treated for wounds that were not life-threatening after a shooting Friday at a mall in North Carolina. Rick Goodale is a spokesman for the Gastonia Police Department. He said the shooting happened around noon Friday in the food court of the Eastridge Mall in Gastonia. The city of about 77,000 people is west of Charlotte not far from the state line with South Carolina. Goodale said by phone that there is no active threat to the public. He said the three people shot are being treated for their wounds. He said one or more suspects fled the mall and haven’t been caught.
OUTER BANKS-NEW BRIDGE OPENING
Bridge opening on North Carolina coast delayed over markings
RODANTHE, N.C. (AP) — State officials say the opening of a bridge on the North Carolina coast that would allow locals and tourists to avoid a constantly washed-out route has been delayed because of a problem with pavement markings. The N.C. Department of Transportation says pavement markings installed earlier this week on the Rodanthe ‘Jug Handle’ Bridge in Dare County do not meet specifications for quality or reflectivity. Flatiron, the prime contractor, said it would seek a new subcontractor to replace the substandard markings and re-stripe the bridge and the intersections. Pavement markings are the last step in completion of the 2.4-mile bridge.
New NC arson crimes, tougher penalties head to Cooper’s desk
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Legislation next heading to Gov. Roy Cooper’s desk creates new crimes for arson and stiffer punishments for such fire-related violations already in state law. The measure received final General Assembly approval on Thursday when the House voted overwhelmingly for the changes that the Senate completed on the bill earlier in the week. The bill creates new felony crimes for setting fire to a prison and to commercial structures. The measure also requires applicants for paid or volunteer fire department jobs to submit to criminal background checks, and be prohibited from getting hired if they’ve been convicted of certain fire-related crimes.