Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 9:20 p.m. EST

ELECTIONS BOARD-PLEDGE

NC county elections leader changes mind on meetings pledge

ELIZABETHTOWN, N.C. (AP) — The Democratic chairwoman of a local North Carolina elections board says the Pledge of Allegiance will be added to its future meetings after all. Earlier this week, on a party-line vote, the board rejected a motion to add the pledge to the agenda of future meetings, leading to criticism and an impromptu reciting of the pledge in the meeting by those in the audience. Chairwoman Louella Thompson said on Thursday she decided to reverse course after speaking with community members, legal experts and the local and state Democratic Party. Even Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper — through a spokeswoman — disagreed with her decision.

FLU DEATHS-NORTH CAROLINA

North Carolina health officials: 11 flu deaths last week

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina health officials say 11 people died from the flu last week, the deadliest week of the season so far. Last week, the N,C, Department of Health and Human Services reported nine people died from the flu, including the state's first pediatric death. For the year, the death toll from the flu in North Carolina is at 33 after 15 weeks of the 2019-2020 flu season, compared to 23 at the same time last year.

AP-NC-CARS SHOT

Police investigating reports of shootings at cars on highway

WILSON, N.C. (AP) — Police in North Carolina are warning motorists following reports that someone has been shooting at cars on a highway. The Bailey Police Department warned drivers on Wednesday in two Facebook posts. The shootings have occurred on U.S. Route 264 in Wilson County, which is east of Raleigh. Specifically, there were reports that shots were fired between mile markers 38 and 40 heading eastbound. Police are urging drivers to pay attention to their surroundings and to call 911 if they see any suspicious activity. Bailey police also said that they have alerted surrounding jurisdictions.

SCHOOL BUS DRIVER-ASSAULT

Police search for man who assaulted school bus driver

LAURINBURG, N.C. (AP) — Police are looking for a man who they say assaulted a school bus driver as she stopped to pick up children. Laurinburg police say in a news release that 46-year-old Kenneth Latrell Revels entered the bus on Tuesday and hit the driver on her head and neck, and then began stomping on her head when she fell to the floor. Multiple charges have been filed against Revels, who police say is still at large.

NORTH CAROLINA FATAL SHOOTING

1 killed, 2 wounded in early morning Charlotte shooting

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Police in North Carolina are investigating a shooting that left one man dead and two others wounded. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department said that they found the dead man inside of a vehicle and found the two other wounded men nearby early Thursday morning. Those two men were taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. It's not clear what relationship there may have been between the men. The man who was pronounced dead at the scene was identified as 19-year-old David Wayne Burns. The shooting remains under investigation and police didn't immediately release further details about what happened.

GREEN PUPPY

Not easy being green: North Carolina dog births unique puppy

CANTON, N.C. (AP) — The Avengers may have gained a canine sidekick after a North Carolina family's dog gave birth to a bright green puppy named “Hulk.” Haywood County resident Shana Stamey says her white shepherd, Gypsy, delivered eight puppies Friday. Gypsy's labor was going smoothly until the fourth puppy came out as a small, but mighty tuft of lime green fur. Stamey told news outlets she was initially worried, but a local animal hospital manager says there's a normal explanation for the odd coloration, and it doesn't involve gamma rays. She says Hulk was likely stained by liquids inside the stomach. His color will fade, but his superpower, deemed by Stamey as an “aggressive appetite," will likely remain.

OFFICERS-FORCE INVESTIGATION

North Carolina police investigate use of force during arrest

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina police department says it's investigating the use of force by officers during a traffic stop in which they were recorded kneeing a driver, punching his back and dragging him out of the car by his neck. Raleigh police arrested 22-year-old Braily Andres Batista-Concepcion on Tuesday in connection to three hit-and-run crashes. Police said in a statement that Batista repeatedly ignored commands. Batista contends he told officers he was going to get out of the car, but they started hitting him. He was visibly bruised while speaking with reporters on Wednesday. He's charged with hit-and-run and  driving while impaired, among a number of other violations.

ELECTION 2020-SENATE-DEBATES

North Carolina Sen. Tillis seeks 5 TV debates with Democrat

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina Republican Sen. Thom Tillis has proposed holding five televised debates with the Democratic nominee, starting this spring. Tillis' campaign said Wednesday that a cable channel already has agreed to host three debates in April, May and June, and he's seeking two more in September and October. One of the Democratic primary candidates, Cal Cunningham, says he's ready to debate Tillis but didn't specifically accept the incumbent's schedule. Five Democrats and four Republicans are competing in the March 3 primary. Cunningham also says he's participating in candidate forums in advance of the primary.