‘We grieve for them’: 5 killed, including off-duty officer, in Raleigh shooting, police say

RALEIGH, N.C. — Five people were killed, including an off-duty officer, in a mass shooting in an eastern Raleigh neighborhood Thursday night, authorities confirmed. Two others were hurt, they said.

In a news conference Friday morning, authorities identified the five victims. The suspected gunman, who is 15 years old, was taken into custody just after 9:30 p.m. Thursday, Raleigh police told WTVD.

One of the injured was a K-9 officer who was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, Raleigh Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin said. The other was a 59-year-old woman. The officer was later released.

“This is a sad and tragic day for the City of Raleigh,” the mayor said in one of the two news conferences the city held Thursday night.

Officers were first called to the shooting call at about 5 p.m. Thursday near the Neuse River Greenway in the Hedingham neighborhood, near Osprey Cove Drive and Bay Harbor Drive.

Baldwin said the police department told her around 8 p.m. that the suspect had been “contained” at a residence in the area. Raleigh police tweeted at about 9:40 p.m. that the suspect was in custody.

“We must do more. We must stop this mindless violence in America. We must address gun violence,” Baldwin said. “We have much to do and tonight, we have much to mourn.”

Multiple law enforcement agencies and first responders were still on the scene well into the night.

Friday updates

8:30 p.m.

The Wake County District Attorney said she will seek to try the 15-year-old mass shooting suspect as an adult, WTVD reported.

“Based on the mass fatality and the violence here, we do intend to intend to seek charges against him as an adult and to proceed to Superior Court with this case,” District Attorney Lorrin Freeman told WTVD.

The maximum sentence would be life without parole if the teen is tried as an adult, according to Freeman.

“This is the first time we’ve had this sort of mass shooting in the 25 years I have worked within the criminal justice system, so there’s no question for us and the community to know that today, this many people simultaneously woke up without loved ones because of senseless violence,” she said. “This is a different kind of case, no doubt about it.”

Freeman said that since the suspect is hospitalized, he has not been served.

5:30 p.m.

Channel 9′s Dave Faherty went to the suspect’s home while police searched it Friday evening. Investigators told ABC News they can’t find any clues online from the suspect, saying he had no social media footprint.

In 911 calls, you can hear the chaos and terror families experienced during the rampage.

“We heard the shots and we heard them screaming, and so we got down, ‘cause we heard it was a gun,” one caller told a dispatcher.

Countless families were forced to lock their doors as the shooting unfolded.

1:21 p.m.

Sources told WRAL News that the alleged gunman is 15-year-old Austin Thompson.

WRAL also reports one of the victims was James Roger Thompson, his 16-year-old brother. Knightdale High School confirmed James Thompson was a junior.

“This is an incredibly difficult time for our school community as well as the broader Raleigh community,” the statement from the school reads. “We have learned that junior James Thompson was killed in yesterday’s tragic shooting on the Neuse River Greenway. It is an unexpected loss and we are saddened by it. Our condolences, thoughts, and prayers go out to James’ family, the other victims, their families and all who have been impacted by yesterday’s events.”

The school said they would offer onsite counseling on campus Friday and next week.

“These are heavy moments that we will work through together as a school family,” the school said.

1:11 p.m.

President Joe Biden shared a statement about the shooting, thanking law enforcement for their response and saying the victims’ families were in his thoughts.

“Jill and I are grieving with the families in Raleigh, North Carolina, whose loved ones were killed and wounded in yet another mass shooting in America,” the statement reads. “We are thinking of yet another community shaken and shattered as they mourn the loss of friends and neighbors, including an off-duty police officer.”

Read Biden’s full statement here.

12 p.m.

In east Raleigh, Channel 9′s Dave Faherty spoke to neighbors who said hid inside when they heard gunshots.

“At that point in time, I just took my grandson and we went in, locked up the house and, kind of, went to the center of the house,” Shelly Birdsell said.

Some were fighting back tears as they described the moments after that shooting. Neighbor Saunya Jones described the moment she learned about what had happened.

“The guy that lives down there, he was standing in the middle of the yard, saying that there was a shooter,” Jones said. “And then somebody was on the ground, there was a body on the ground, and they was like, performing CPR. And there was a lady that ran down there.”

11 a.m.

9 a.m.

In a news conference Friday morning, authorities identified the five victims as the following people:

  • Nicole Connors, 52
  • Susan Karnatz, 49
  • Mary Marshall, 35
  • A 16-year-old whose name wasn’t released
  • Off-duty Raleigh Police Officer Gabriel Torres, 29

“There are several families in our community waking up this morning without their loves ones. We grieve for them,” Baldwin said as the news conference began. “Our prayers are also with those who are injured. No one can imagine what they’re all going through, but please know we as a community stand with you today.

“We’re also grateful for the dedicated public safety and law enforcement officers who acted so bravely. But we have doubled our determination now to end senseless gun violence that has its grips on our country, and now on our city.

“I know that brings us sadness and anger. We have to do something.”

Officials said two community centers were evacuated and a school was placed on lockdown during the shooting. The crime scene spanned two miles.

“No neighborhood, no parent, no child, no grandparent -- no one should feel this fear in their communities,” Cooper added.

5 a.m.

Officers said the suspected gunman was 15 years old. He had life-threatening injuries when he was taken into custody Thursday, according to a memo from Department of Homeland Security. It is not known if those injuries were self-inflicted.

On Friday morning, officers were spotted searching a home near where the shooting took place, according to ABC11.

Thursday updates

10:50 p.m.

Gov. Roy Cooper went to the media staging area and addressed the public at a late-night news conference.

“Terror has reached our doorstep,” Cooper said. “The nightmare of every community has come to Raleigh.”

Chief Stella Patterson was away at a professional conference and she was on her way back to Raleigh, Baldwin said.

Neighbors said the shooter was young, dressed in camouflage and had a long rifle. Authorities said that he opened fire along a walking trail.

10:20 p.m.

9:40 p.m.

9 p.m.

Five people, including a police officer, were killed in a shooting in a residential area, and multiple people had been shot, Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin said in a news conference.

8:27 p.m.

7:34 p.m.

RPD: This is still an active investigation. Sections of the Hedingham neighborhood remain closed. Residents should follow the directions of law enforcement officials on the scene.

7:30 p.m.

The North Carolina Department of Public Safety has made numerous state resources available in response to the active shooting incident in Raleigh this afternoon. State Highway Patrol aviation and local patrol members, State Capitol Police Officers, and Alcohol Law Enforcement Special Agents have all responded and are assisting the Raleigh Police Department at this time.

”DPS is providing any needed resources as requested in this investigation and working with local law enforcement to stop this shooter,” said NCDPS Secretary Eddie M. Buffaloe, Jr.

6:54 p.m.

6:50 p.m.

Raleigh police: Residents in the area of McConnell Oliver Drive, Tarheel Club Drive, and Old Milburnie Road are being advised to remain indoors. Drivers are advised to avoid the area and seek alternate routes.

6:40 p.m.

Residents in the Hedingham neighborhood are told to stay in their homes and call 911 if they see anything suspicious.

5:50 p.m.

The Raleigh Police Department is currently on the scene of an active shooting in the area of the Neuse River Greenway near Osprey Cove Drive and Bay Harbor Drive. Residents in that area are advised to remain in their homes.

No further information has been released.

ABC 11 contributed to this report.

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