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No Suspect in Sabotage of NC Power Infrastructure, DHS Warns of Potential Attacks from Extremists

Workers work on equipment at the West End Substation, at 6910 NC Hwy 211 in West End, N.C., Monday, Dec. 5, 2022, where a serious attack on critical infrastructure has caused a power outage to many around Southern Pines, N.C. (AP Photo/Karl B DeBlaker)

An investigation for who's behind a critical infrastructure attack in North Carolina has yet to find a suspect. 

Roughly 35,000 people were still without power Tuesday night, three days after two energy substations were sabotaged by gunfire in Moore County, NC. In its November terrorism bulletin, the Department of Homeland Security warned of potential attacks on power infrastructure from violent extremists. 

"We're still waiting for the investigation to figure out who is responsible, but it does cause some concern that we do have some violent extremists at play here," said Elizabeth Neumann, former assistant secretary for Counterterrorism and Threat Prevention for DHS under the Trump administration

Moore County Sheriff Ronnie Fields told journalists the person(s) responsible knew exactly what they were doing. Charges could range from conspiracy to murder – if someone dies in the cold from this outage. 

The county's manager said those responsible committed a selfish and cruel act that has hurt thousands. The attack spotlights vulnerabilities of the nation's power grid to domestic attacks. 

"Protecting critical infrastructure like our power system must be a top priority," said Gov. Roy Cooper (D). "This kind of attack raises a new level of threat." 

And with no power, life has become difficult for residents.

"I've got no way to heat (my home) because we don't have a fireplace," said one person. "Being without water is worse than not having lights or anything." 

With no suspect or motive, the FBI, DHS, and ATF have stepped in to investigate this crime along with local law enforcement. 

The county remains under a state of emergency with countywide curfews to protect people and businesses. 

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