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Shots reported near SC power facility, no damage found

Duke Energy

Duke Energy said it found no sign of property damage at a hydropower station in South Carolina where gunfire was reported nearby.

Thousands of Duke Energy customers in neighboring North Carolina lost power Saturday night after authorities said one or more people drove up to two substations there, breached the gates and opened fire.

Duke Energy said it’s looking into separate reports of gunfire Wednesday near the Wateree Hydro Station in Ridgeway, South Carolina.

“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,” the company statement says.

Kershaw County Sheriff Lee Boan told WTLX-TV that a deputy went to the hydro station, where people reported that someone fired from the passenger side window of a vehicle that went by. The witnesses said the shooter fired toward the woods nearby, not at them or the power plant or dam, “so we can’t absolutely confirm that there was any threat to the power station,” Boan said.

Duke Energy completed repairs Wednesday on electric substation equipment that was damaged in the North Carolina shootings, knocking out power to more than 45,000 customers. Despite the restoration of power to nearly all customers by late Wednesday, the effects of the outage were still being felt Thursday in Moore County, where schools remained closed.

No motive has been released in the North Carolina attacks, but Moore County Sheriff Ronnie Fields told reporters that whoever was responsible “knew exactly what they were doing to ... cause the outage that they did.”

The FBI posted a notice seeking tips, and North Carolina, Moore County and Duke Energy have offered combined rewards of up to $75,000 for information leading to an arrest and conviction.