North Carolina man dies after shootout with officers
LENOIR, N.C. (AP) — Investigators say a suspect has been fatally wounded in a shootout with a trooper and a deputy along a highway in western North Carolina. The Highway Patrol said authorities were called to a report of a crash involving an overturned vehicle and an armed man on a highway in Caldwell County on Sunday afternoon. Officials say the suspect fired at the deputy and trooper who arrived on the scene, and both officers returned fire. The suspect fled on foot and was later found in a wooded area suffering from what appeared to be a gunshot wound. He was transported to a hospital and died. The trooper and deputy were not injured.
School district to auction off unused clear backpacks
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina school district plans to auction off 46,000 unused clear backpacks as it tries to recover money it spent under a plan for increased security in schools. The Charlotte Observer reports that the Charlotte-Mecklenburg district spent almost $500,000 on the backpacks for high school students. Critics, however, said little to no research has proven that the backpacks can help stop weapons at the door. The backpacks ultimately were not used after school officials were surprised to find many of them had a warning label about cancer-causing chemicals while unpacking them. At least 30 guns were found on district campuses during the 2021-22 academic year.
CHILD ABUSE CHARGES
Sheriff: women arrested after kids hit with metal knuckles
CONNELLY SPRINGS, N.C. (AP) — Authorities in North Carolina say two women have been arrested on felony child abuse charges after the children of one of the women were hit with a pair of metal knuckles in their home. Burke County Sheriff Steve Whisenant said in a Facebook post that the children were hospitalized with serious injuries Friday after an anonymous complaint led to the arrests of the children’s mother, 26-year-old Jessica Renee Sanders and 25-year-old Natalie “Shane” Childress. Whisenant didn’t say how many children were hurt and did not release their ages. The children were taken to UNC Health Valdese and then to a child trauma center.
NORTH CAROLINA MALL SHOOTING
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.