Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 1:20 a.m. EDT

March 24, 2019 - 12:00 am


Cape Hatteras National Seashore fire is under investigation

(Information from: The News & Observer,

FRISCO, N.C. (AP) — Officials at Cape Hatteras National Seashore say a suspicious fire that burned more than an acre of the national park is under investigation.

National Park Service officials said they are not sure what started the fire in Frisco Friday afternoon. They said they are seeking tips on "unusual activity in this area."

The News & Observer reports that the fire destroyed back-dune vegetation north of Ramp 48, between the Inside Road and beachfront.

Park rangers were assisted by volunteer fire departments from Buxton and Frisco in putting out the fire.

The National Park Service's Investigative Services Branch is looking into the fire.



Man dies after being rescued from house fire in Durham

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — A 73-year-old man has died after being rescued from a house fire in Durham.

The Durham County Sheriff's Office said deputies were called to a home at about 1:40 a.m. Saturday to assist the Fire Department.

When firefighters arrived, a 45-year-old man was outside the burning home. He told firefighters two people were still inside and directed them to their locations.

Firefighters were able to rescue 73-year-old William Davis Sr. and 39-year-old Keisha Terry. Davis was taken to a local hospital where he died. Terry was taken to a local hospital, then transferred to the North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center for treatment of her injuries.

William Davis Jr. — the son of the man who died — was treated for smoke inhalation.

The cause of the fire is being investigated.



The Latest: Police ID man charged in pellet gun shooting

CARY, N.C. (AP) — Authorities have identified an 18-year-old man who allegedly fired pellet guns inside a North Carolina bookstore, creating panic and causing minor injuries to two people.

Town of Cary spokeswoman Kathryn Trogdon said Jonathan Kyle Courtney walked into a Barnes and Noble bookstore at about 7 p.m. Friday and began shooting two pellet guns "indiscriminately."

A man and a woman received minor injuries.

Courtney has been charged with two counts of felony assault with a deadly weapon and one count of discharging a barreled weapon into an occupied property. He is currently being held at the Wake County Public Safety Center in Raleigh.

Police Capt. John Szymeczek told WNCN-TV that the pellet guns were realistic looking.


Police say drunk passenger urinated on luggage during flight

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Police say a drunk passenger urinated on another passenger's luggage during a flight from Chicago to Charlotte, North Carolina.

News outlets reported that American Airlines asked law enforcement to meet Flight 1344 once it arrived in Charlotte at 12:52 a.m. on Thursday.

A police report said the victim was a female passenger. The report did not say whether any charges would be filed against the drunk passenger.

A spokeswoman for the Charlotte office of the FBI told the Charlottesville Observer Saturday that the FBI was notified of the police report Friday. The FBI investigates criminal offenses during airline flights.


Man charged with 1981 rapes at knife-point in N Carolina

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina police say they're charging a man now living in Georgia with breaking into homes and raping women at knifepoint almost four decades ago.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department said Friday they've charged 64-year-old Johnny Ealey with burglary and raping two women in 1981.

Police say evidence collected from both women were analyzed in 1981, but underwent additional testing in both 2014 and 2016 that identified Ealey as a suspect.

Authorities say Ealey was arrested by his parole officer in Georgia on Tuesday and will be extradited to North Carolina.

Charlotte police continue investigating a string of cases from the summer of 1981 in which break-ins led to victims being threatened with knives and sexually assaulted.


North Carolina man returns to face charge in wife's death

(Information from: WRAL-TV,

NASHVILLE, N.C. (AP) — A man accused of killing his wife is back in North Carolina to face a murder charge after being captured days ago in Arizona.

WRAL-TV showed footage of 57-year-old Rexford Lynn Keel Jr. stepping off a plane in handcuffs Friday in North Carolina. He was driven away in an unmarked car.

Keel was arrested Sunday in Arizona on an arrest warrant accusing him killing his 38-year-old wife.

Diana Alejandra Keel had gone missing March 9. Her body was found in another county. Nash County, North Carolina, Sheriff Keith Stone has said and it appears she died of multiple stab wounds.

Stone also wants to take a closer look at the death of Keel's first wife in 2006, which was then ruled an accidental fall.



Protest, residency challenge in sheriff's race to be heard

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — An election protest in a still-unresolved North Carolina sheriff's race will be heard after all.

The State Board of Elections told the Columbus County elections board to conduct a hearing soon on allegations from Democratic Party official Gloria Smith. News outlets report the Columbus board dismissed Smith's protest earlier because she checked the wrong box on a form.

The state board voted 3-2 on Thursday to also direct Columbus officials to examine Smith's allegation that Republican Jody Greene didn't meet candidate residency requirements.

Greene was sworn in as sheriff after a recount showed him 37 votes ahead of Democratic incumbent Lewis Hatcher. The state board wouldn't authorize November's result because time for appeals hadn't ended. Neither candidate now runs day-to-day sheriff's department operations while awaiting a final result.


Beasley joins other Democrats for lieutenant governor's bid

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina House member is expanding the group of Democrats running for lieutenant governor.

Two-term Rep. Chaz Beasley of Charlotte announced he's seeking his party's nomination.

The 33-year-old finance attorney says his campaign will be built on working to ensure everyone can live up to their potential and "participate in our shared success" in the state. Beasley has spent time recently working on legislation addressing sexual assault and financial literacy.

Beasley shared with supporters by video Thursday about growing up in a single-parent home. He attended Harvard and Georgetown and says he knows how much education can make a difference.

Democrats already running include state Sen. Terry Van Duyn, former Sen. Cal Cunningham and attorney Bill Toole. Current GOP Lt. Gov. Dan Forest is planning to run for governor.

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