NORTH CAROLINA NEWS WIRE

HENDERSON (AP) — Police in North Carolina say two people were killed and a third person was wounded in a shooting.

WRAL-TV in Raleigh reports the Henderson Police Department said officers responding to a home found two people dead of gunshot wounds.

The victims were identified by police as 27-year-old Tyheem Shabazz Person and 28-year-old Dyrel Jermal Kittrell. According to police, 21-year-old Devonte Jamal Jones was taken to the hospital for treatment, but his condition wasn’t known on Thursday. The shootings occurred Wednesday.

Police haven’t discussed a possible motive or suspects in the case.

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RALEIGH (AP) — North Carolina prison officials say they’re revving up efforts to fill vacancies at a lockup where four employees were killed.

The vacancies at Pasquotank Correctional Institution were so serious that understaffing created opportunities for a deadly escape attempt.

The Department of Public Safety announced new measures Thursday as a National Institute of Corrections consultant discussed the group’s report into what happened at the prison. The arm of the U.S. Justice Department found workers at the Elizabeth City prison were forced to maintain oversight and prison services despite one out of four jobs being vacant, and thus grew complacent about security. Four workers were killed during the deadliest breakout attempt in state history.

Prison officials say they’re holding career fairs to recruit guards, targeting military veterans, spouses and their dependents.

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RALEIGH (AP) — North Carolina Democratic legislators want Republican colleagues to locate funds to help businesses attach to an expected natural gas pipeline in eastern counties.

The GOP-controlled General Assembly passed a law taking effect Friday that intercepts $58 million anticipated from an agreement between Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s office and utilities building the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Those funds will now go to school districts along the pipeline route.

House Minority Leader Darren Jackson told reporters Thursday by overriding the agreement Republicans prevented money from aiding economic development projects for local companies to tap into cheaper energy, creating jobs. Jackson criticized GOP leaders for failing to help them so far.

In response, Republican lawmakers highlighted the benefits of the school district funds and how Cooper has repeatedly linked education spending to economic growth.

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GREENSBORO (AP) — Some of the largest hospital systems in North Carolina are ending child visitor restrictions put in place to try to reduce the number of flu cases, just as the death toll for the season surpasses 300.

A number of hospital systems have announced that restrictions will end Friday morning after being implemented Jan. 12. The list includes Atrium Health, formerly Carolinas HealthCare System, Cone Health, High Point Regional, Novant Health and Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.

“We feel it’s appropriate to lift these temporary visitor restrictions now, since spending time with healthy loved ones, including children, is important for many of our patients,” Larry Givner, professor of pediatric infectious diseases at Wake Forest Baptist, told the Winston-Salem Journal.

State health officials reported 29 more flu deaths in North Carolina. There were seven deaths for the week ending March 10, and 22 deaths from previous weeks which were determined to be flu-related.

Twice in February, the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services reported 46 deaths in a single week.

“While we continue monitoring the influenza virus as it continues to circulate in our area, we’ve seen the rates decrease steadily in the past several weeks,” Givner said.

The death toll for the year is 305, making it North Carolina’s deadliest flu season in at least 10 years. Both the 2016-17 and the 2014-15 seasons had 218 flu deaths.

The flu season usually fades out by the end of March.

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BUXTON (AP) — A Virginia man says he still owns a North Carolina sandbar, even if part of it may now be underwater.

The Charlotte Observer reports that Ken Barlow filed a deed to “Shelly Island” in the Outer Banks in August, although the ownership was disputed by the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. Before the matter could be resolved, NASA says three hurricanes split the land, causing half to connect to the mainland and the rest to wash away.

Barlow is quoted by the newspaper as saying the mile-long (1.5-kilometer-long) piece of land is still there, and that he owns it.

Officials have said that if the sandbar connected to the mainland, it would then belong to the National Park Service.

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WILMINGTON (AP) — A man has been sentenced to more than 40 years in prison after being convicted of human trafficking in North Carolina.

Media outlets report that 39-year-old Roderick Jermaine Boykins of Wilmington was sentenced to 43 years in prison Wednesday on charges of trafficking a child victim, sexual servitude and promotion of prostitution.

Prosecutors said there were four victims, including one who was a juvenile at the time.

Prosecutors said Boykins recruited women for prostitution between November 2015 and December 2016 and then held the women in sexual slavery.