McCrory: Hurricane Matthew death toll rises to 17

Posted October 11, 2016 9:31 a.m. EDT
Updated July 13, 2018 1:38 p.m. EDT

— With the addition of three more confirmed deaths Tuesday afternoon, Gov. Pat McCrory said 17 people have now died in North Carolina due to Hurricane Matthew.

Overnight, man in Wake County was killed when a tree fell on his car as he drove home from work; two more people – one in Wilson County and one in Cumberland County – died when their vehicles were submerged in water.

In a Tuesday afternoon update, McCrory said that two people died in Robeson County and another died in Columbus County as a result of drowning in waters from Hurricane Matthew.

"Today, if we say the water's coming, and we say do not drive through that water, we mean it," McCrory said at a press conference on Tuesday. "Do not go through any barricades, take all instructions from all the authorities, whether it be the mayor, the fire chief, the police chief, the National Guard."

McCrory said another man was shot and killed during a confrontation with law enforcement officers who were responding to flooding in Lumberton.

Two members of the Robeson County Sheriff’s Office and a sergeant with the State Highway Patrol were conducting search-and-rescue operations in Lumberton shortly after 8 p.m. when they encountered a man on West Fifth Street, state officials said. The many became hostile and displayed a handgun, so the Highway Patrol Sgt. J.F. Hinson shot him, officials said.

The man hasn't been identified.

"I am proud that our first responders were in the community rendering aid to our citizens," Highway Patrol Commander Col. Bill Grey said in a statement. "While we are saddened by any loss of life, I am thankful that our member and the Robeson County sheriffs’ deputies were not injured."

The State Bureau of Investigation is investigating the shooting and Hinson has been placed on administrative leave pending an internal investigation, which is standard procedure.

McCrory said the state is preparing for new flooding in Edgecombe, Pitt, Lenoir, Pender, Bladen and Green counties, among others.

"Too many people have died, and we don't want any more to die," McCrory said. "And yet, there are going to be conditions during the next 72 hours which will be extremely dangerous. I cannot say that any stronger."

Interstate 95 reopened to northbound and southbound traffic in Harnett County Tuesday afternoon after being closed for two days due to flooding from Hurricane Matthew.

McCrory he is considering an extension to early voter registration in light of the storm, but will make that call next week once officials are able to assess the status of registration sites.