Raleigh, North Carolina
A 15-year-old boy will be charged as an adult in Thursday’s shooting that killed five people in Raleigh, North Carolina, prosecutors said, amid renewed calls to curb gun violence in the US.
The suspect, identified by police as a white juvenile, was arrested Thursday by county police after an hour-long manhunt.
The more than two-mile-long crime scene in the Raleigh neighborhood of Hedingham also left two people injured in the attack, authorities said. One of the five dead was 29-year-old off-duty police officer Gabriel Torres, who was shot on his way to work.
“My heart is heavy because we have no answers as to why this tragedy occurred,” Raleigh Police Chief Estella D. Patterson said in a news release Friday.
Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman told CNN on Friday that her office plans to charge the suspect as an adult.
He remains hospitalized in critical condition after being arrested Thursday night following a standoff with police, authorities said. Freeman said his office is monitoring the suspect’s condition.
As authorities investigate, few details have been released about exactly how the shooting happened.
In one of the four 911 calls obtained by CNN, a caller told a dispatcher that the shooter was wearing camouflage and appeared to be 16 years old. Another caller reported that two neighbors had been shot. A third caller reported that “a kid running around here with a shotgun” shot a person and “ran back into the woods.”
The suspect wore camouflage clothing and carried a camouflage backpack, a source with knowledge of the investigation told CNN. After the shooting, a handgun and a long gun were recovered, according to the source.
The other dead victims identified by police are Nicole Conners, 52; Sue Karnatz, 49; Mary Marshall, 35; and James Roger Thompson, 16.
The two injured victims include a responding police officer who was later released from custody.
Marcille Lynn Gardner, 59, remains in critical condition, Patterson said.
The mass shooting prompted a response from President Joe Biden, who again lamented the tragic loss of American lives to gun violence and reiterated his call to ban assault weapons.
“Enough,” Biden said. “We have mourned and prayed with all too many families who have had to bear the terrible burden of these mass shootings.
“Too many families have been deprived of spouses, parents and children forever,” added the president.
Biden’s remarks come as the Raleigh community grieves the sudden loss of loved ones and neighbors.
Karnatz, one of the dead victims, was described by her husband, Tom, as a loving wife and mother of three boys, ages 10, 13 and 14.
“We had plans to grow old together. Always together. Now those plans are wasted,” he wrote on social media on Friday.
Karnatz’s neighbor Christine Hines said her heart feels like it has been pierced by the loss. The couple were seen walking their dogs on the day of the shooting.
Marshall, another victim who died, was walking his dog when he heard the gunshots, his sister Meaghan McCrickard told CNN.
After hearing the gunshots, Marshall called her fiancé to report the shooting and was on his way back home, McCrickard said.
“She was my hero even though she was my little sister,” McCrickard added. The sisters were three years apart.
Marshall, a culinary arts student at Wake Technical Community College, was described by teachers and classmates as a “hard worker with a great attitude and determination to succeed,” the school said in a statement.
Thompson was a junior at Knightdale High School when he was shot Thursday, Principal Keith Richardson said in a statement.
“This is an unexpected loss and we are saddened,” Richardson said, noting that counseling and crisis services are available for students and staff.
Those who witnessed the violence also described the severity of what the residents had to endure.
A resident, who asked not to be identified, stood next to her 15-year-old daughter as she recounted police cars, ambulances and fire trucks descending as a neighbor approached.
“He saw a ghost,” said the neighbor. “He comes to us, and I, like, what happened, and he said: ‘I saw my neighbor being shot in the street.’ He was completely shocked.”
The resident and her daughter were locked in a bedroom after an officer in an unmarked car said there was an active shooter.
“I started crying,” her daughter recalled. And on Friday morning, she cried again.
“Imagining what people are going through,” he said. “And that it was so close to us. It could be us.”
McCrickard, Marshall’s sister, expressed frustration that gun violence has not decreased further.
“We want to take this unimaginable opportunity to call on our local, national and country leaders to finally do something about gun control,” McCrickard said. “Being a leader is leading and making decisions that benefit, protect and keep our country safe. How many times do we have to hear our leaders say, ‘We’re sorry’ and ‘Something needs to be done?’. We demand action.”
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper echoed Biden’s sentiments after the shooting, saying the pain of the Raleigh community is unimaginable.
“We are sad. We are angry and we want to know the answers to all the questions,” said the governor. “Those questions will be answered. Some today and more over time. But I think we all know the basic truth: no neighborhood, no parents, no children, no grandparents, no one should feel this fear in their communities.”