LUMBERTON — Robeson County officials say no evidence has been found to substantiate alleged threats of violence targeting Lumbees in Robeson County.
“We got information that something may take place. We have followed every avenue, every witness, every lead,” Robeson County Sheriff Kenneth Sealey said. ” … We don’t have anything concrete to validate what we’ve heard.”
Rumors began circulating today that a person had been charged in connection with a plot to plant a bomb in Pembroke during the annual Lumbee Homecoming celebration, which concludes Saturday.
Pembroke Police Chief Grant Florita said no arrests have been made and no weapons have been located. Florita said the threat referred to targeting Lumbees who would be attending various Fourth of July events in Robeson County this weekend, including Lumbee Homecoming, via a bombing or mass shooting.
Sealey said law enforcement has been unable to locate anyone who directly heard the alleged threat being made.
The Sheriff’s Office is assisting Pembroke police with the investigation. Sealey said the FBI has also been notified. Several law enforcement agencies throughout the county as well as the Sheriff’s Office met Wednesday to discuss the threat and how to respond in the event of an attack.
“We don’t take it lightly,” Sealey said.
Officials are taking a cautious approach.
“We are taking every measure to treat it like it’s a real threat,” Florita said.
Sealey said there will be stepped-up a law enforcement presence at Lumbee Homecoming events, as well as other Fourth of July events slated for the weekend, although such events typically have an increased police presence.
Stephanie Chavis, director of Emergency Management for Robeson County, sent out a statement this afternoon saying “reports alleging threats of violence to events within Robeson County” are unsubstantiated.
“Each report has been thoroughly evaluated with all resources available,” Chavis said. “No reports have been validated at this time. As a precaution, individuals should expect additional law enforcement presence at events throughout the county. As always, it is our recommendation to immediately report any suspicious activity to your local law enforcement agency.”
Sarah Willets can be reached at 910-816-1974 or on Twitter @Sarah_Willets.