State Sen. R.C. Soles shot one of two people who he said were breaking into his Tabor City home about 5 p.m. Sunday, officials said.
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Columbus County Sheriff Chris Batten said Kyle Blackburn was taken to Loris Community Hospital in South Carolina. Late Sunday night, a spokeswoman at the hospital said that Blackburn was in good condition.
The shooting occurred on Soles’ property when two men went to the senator’s house and tried to kick in his front door, Batten said. The incident happened about a quarter mile from Canal Street and Stake Road.
The other man involved in the incident is B.J. Wright, Batten said. Multiple media outlets have reported that Wright was a legal client of Soles – an attorney – and that Soles gave him money while Wright was in prison.
The State Bureau of Investigation is probing the shooting, Batten said, because the agency is already looking into accusations against the senator.
A man recently accused Soles of attempting to molest him, leading authorities to ask the SBI to investigate. The man later said his allegation was false.
First elected in 1968 to the House before moving to the Senate in the mid-1970s, Soles is thought to be the longest-serving representative in North Carolina history.
In an institution that rewards seniority, Soles’ longevity has allowed him to climb the rungs of power.
But with the SBI now investigating the allegation and rumors of a separate federal investigation, the man from Tabor City faces a test of his political mettle.
In 2007, he was ranked the eighth most effective senator by the N.C. Center for Public Policy Research, and at times he has held the chairmanships of several important committees.
He is currently the chairman of the Senate commerce committee.
And he’s faced tough times before. The 17-term senator from Columbus County, who also represents Brunswick and Pender counties, survived a federal indictment in the early 1980s tied to an investigation into corruption in his home county called Colcor.
In August 1983, charges of conspiracy, vote-buying and perjury were dropped for lack of evidence, then he was acquitted in federal court of aiding and abetting bribery