Local News

Misguided vandals threaten wrong Johnston home

Posted January 26, 2021 6:32 p.m. EST
Updated January 27, 2021 9:33 a.m. EST

— Vandals spray-painted a house in Johnston County, thinking it was the home of a North Carolina State University employee who has sparked controversy for his political views.

But Chadwick Seagraves no longer lives in the Faircloth Court home near Clayton, and the family that now lives there awoke last Friday to find threatening messages and expletives.

"At first, I was mad. I was horrifically mad," Erick Shew said Tuesday.

"Die" was painted on the side of his Dodge Ram pickup, and "Die Cracker" was on the side of his fiancé's mother's car.

More threats were painted on the garage door and driveway.

A doorbell camera didn't show anybody outside last Thursday night.

"We had no clue. We just moved here. We don't even know anybody," April Bunting said.

Bunting, her mother, her 17-year-old son and Shew all moved to the Triangle from Tennessee in July.

"We have no political affiliation, so we were like, 'Why would someone do this?'" she said.

The home may have been targeted before, Bunting and Shew said, noting that someone threw something at the house shortly after they moved in, causing a loud bang.

Bunting said she didn't know anything about Seagraves, other than his mail continued to be delivered to the house.

"We were still getting Christmas cards for him," she said.

But she recently found news stories online about him, and everything clicked.

Seagraves works in information technology at N.C. State and was recently under investigation by the university over allegations that he spewed racist views online and was a member of the far-right Proud Boys group.

Last week, N.C. State students rallied to have Seagraves fired, but Chancellor Randy Woodson said that, while Seagraves' views may be offensive, they aren't criminal and don't violate university policies.

Seagraves said he's been the victim of "an organized campaign of slander composed of outright lies, half-truths and out-of-context claims” he says are designed to punish and suppress his right to political expression and that students are trying to destroy his career and his reputation.

He said he's also received threats to his safety that campus police are investigating.

"I'm a big enough man to put myself in their shoes and understand the why," Shew said of the vandals. "But if you're going to do things, make sure it's pointed at the person and not at innocent people."

Bunting filed a report with the Johnston County Sheriff's Office. She and Shew said they worry that the house might continue to be targeted, but they refuse to be scared out of their home.

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