UPDATE: Kinston Housing Authority responds to FBI training - WNCN: News, Weather

UPDATE: Kinston Housing Authority responds to FBI training

Posted: Updated:
KINSTON, N.C. - The Kinston Housing Authority confirms it did not notify residents FBI swat teams would be training in its vacant buildings, but says that's only because so many other groups had already completed training there.

On Friday, KHA Executive Director Rhonda Abbott responded to a 9 On Your Side report that featured residents who were upset no one notified them ahead of time that a dozen FBI special agents would be shooting blanks, throwing grenades and busting in doors in several vacant buildings on their property.

Abbott says when the demolition of those buildings first began back in November, her office informed residents that various groups would be using the designated vacant buildings as a training ground during the demolition process.

Abbott says just last week, the Kinston Public Safety Department held a similar training there, for which they did notify residents ahead of time. She confirms the KHA did not notify residents the FBI would be there this week because so much training had already taken place.

Abbott says only one resident contacted the on-site KHA office with a question about the FBI training. She encourages any other residents with further concerns to contact them at the on-site manager's office or at 252-523-1195.

--- Original Story ---

Residents in one Kinston neighborhood say no one notified them the FBI would be doing tactical training in their backyard this week.

The Kinston Housing Authority owns the complex known as Carver Courts, right off East Bright Street. People who live there say they came home Wednesday and Thursday to see several SWAT teams busting in doors, throwing grenades, and shooting blank rounds inside several vacant buildings set for demolition.
 
A spokeswoman with the FBI released this statement in response to 9 On Your Side's inquiries:

"The FBI SWAT team conducted a standard training exercise this morning on Housing Authority property that is set to be demolished.  We conduct this type of training in various jurisdictions and we always notify the appropriate law enforcement agencies, as well as the owner of the donated space and inform them exactly when we will be there and what we will be doing.  Tactical training is necessary to ensure that our agents are ready to respond in an emergency situation, especially one where public safety could be at risk."       

But residents say the housing authority never informed them the training would be taking place, which caused confusion and fear.

"My kids came home from home and they told me that the Army was outside," said Brandi Price, a mother of three who lives in the complex. "We need to know about that so we wouldn't be scared in our houses thinking that the gang bangers are out there shooting."

9 On Your Side tried calling and going to the Kinston Housing Authority to find out why people weren't notified, but their office was closed Thursday.

So, until people get an explanation…

"I just told my kids that there's a lot of bad things going on in our neighborhood that the police got to prepare for,” Price says.

A few deputies with the Lenoir County Sheriff's Office also participated in the training.

“My deputies are always learning new or different ways in which to tactically manage critical situations," Sheriff Chris Hill says. "The FBI are experts in those regards and we would never give up the opportunity to learn."

As for the housing authority, 9 On Your Side will call them again Friday. Check back for updates.

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