News Roundup

Diners at a Washington D.C. pizza restaurant, Comet Ping Pong, were terrified Sunday when a North Carolina man, Edgar M. Welch of Salisbury, entered the restaurant and fired a rifle in an effort to “self investigate” an online story known as “Pizzagate.”  Keep reading for more details about this bizarre incident and for more news of the week.

Pizzagate.  According to the New York Times, Pizzagate is “an online conspiracy theory asserting, with no evidence, that the [Comet Ping Pong] restaurant is somehow tied to a child abuse ring.”  The Times previously ran a story about it in late November.  Essentially, Pizzagate appears to be an internet rumor and is widely considered to be “fake news.”  Welch’s ill-conceived visit to Comet Ping Pong is in heavy rotation in local and national news outlets.  The Charlotte Observer says that he has a history of criminal charges in North Carolina; the Washington Post interviewed several people who are familiar with him; and the New York Times interviewed Welch after the incident.

KKK Stabbing.  A recent Ku Klux Klan meeting in Yanceyville turned acrimonious when three attendees began fighting and one was stabbed, according to a report from the News & Observer.  Indiana man Richard Dillon showed up at the Caswell County Sherriff’s Office with wounds to his chest, explaining that he was stabbed in a fight with Christopher Eugene Barker and William Ernest Hagen at a KKK meeting.  Barker was hosting the meeting at his home and has identified himself as the founder of a Klan group called the Loyal White Knights.  A story from the Burlington Times News has more details about the incident.

Dylann Roof Trial Begins.  NPR reported last week that Dylann Roof, the 22-year-old South Carolina man who is accused of murdering nine black parishioners during a Bible study at a Charleston church, wanted to represent himself during his federal hate crime trial.  Roof handled jury selection but reversed course on self-representation this week, asking that his former defense team resume representation for the guilt phase of the trial.  Roof faces the death penalty in the federal trial and also is facing separate murder charges in South Carolina state court.

New A.G.  As the Charlotte Observer reports, North Carolina’s attorney general race has come to a conclusion with Republican Buck Newton conceding to Democrat Josh Stein earlier this week.  Stein received 50.27 percent of the vote according to the State Board of Elections.

Mistrial in Officer-Involved Shooting Case.  Charleston news outlet The Post and Courier reports that a mistrial was declared Monday in a homicide case against Michael Slager, a white police officer who shot Walter Scott, a black man, in April 2015.  As the News Roundup noted last year, a bystander captured the last moments of a scuffle between Scott and Slager which ended with Scott running and Slager shooting at his back.  Jurors were unable to reach a unanimous verdict on murder and manslaughter charges.

Toilet Case Flushed.  The News & Observer reports that a high-profile misdemeanor littering trial in Wake County ended this week with a dismissal.  Durham resident Genevieve “Gigi” Burkhalter was arrested and taken into custody for interrogation in April after State Capitol police identified her as a suspect in an incident where two people placed a rainbow-colored toilet outside the governor’s mansion as an apparent protest against HB2.  A district court judge dismissed the case, indicating that there wasn’t enough evidence to support a conviction.

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