Shots fired near Duke Energy plant in SC were not an attack, sheriff says

RIDGEWAY, S.C. — Authorities said they don’t believe gunfire Wednesday near a Duke Energy plant in South Carolina was any sort of attack.

It happened about a mile away from the Wateree Hydro Station in Ridgeway, around 5:30 p.m. Wednesday. Investigators with the Kershaw County Sheriff’s Office have since said they have no evidence to believe it was an attempted attack on the facility. Authorities cited the shell casings being found so far from the station.

No outages were reported during the incident. Still, the FBI and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division were called in to help investigate.

WOLO in Columbia shared a statement from the Kershaw County sheriff, who said the shots were not fired directly at the plant, no damage has been done to the property and no one was hurt.

Duke Energy shared a statement with ABC News, saying, “We are aware of reports of gunfire near the Wateree Hydro Station in Ridgeway SC. No individuals were harmed. There are no outages reported. There is no known property damage at this time. We are working closely with the FBI on this issue.”

Authorities on high alert

The incident, which happened just as the last bit of power was being restored to Duke Energy customers in Moore County, North Carolina, points to authorities being on high alert as they continue monitoring potential attacks.

Channel 9′s Madison Carter has learned of another incident at a substation last month in Jones County, near the North Carolina coast, that impacted 12,000 Carteret-Craven Electric customers. Investigators would only call it “vandalism,” but didn’t specify how it was vandalized.

Carter also uncovered back in March, someone targeted a power substation in Durham County, but that didn’t impact any customers. Again, the Department of Energy would only refer to this as an intentional attack, but shared no details on how it happened.

Michael Mabee is a power grid expert in the United States who has sued the federal government over threats to the grid. He’s watching these attacks closely, calling them a huge concern.

“You know, we’ve got this coordinated attack in North Carolina and then all of a sudden, we’ve got a bunch of other ones,” Mabee said. “So could possibly be a copycat, could possibly be a dry run for something bigger.”

A $75,000 reward is being offered for any information that leads to an arrest in the Moore County attack.

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Madison Carter

Madison Carter, wsoctv.com

Madison is an investigative reporter and anchor for Channel 9.