Oct 21, 2022 - News

Police release report on Raleigh mass shooting

Trail of Hedingham shooter
Data: Raleigh Police Department; Map: Thomas Oide/Axios

It took more than 90 minutes for law enforcement to locate the teenager accused of shooting and killing five people in northeast Raleigh last Thursday, a police report reveals.

  • An hours-long standoff ensued, during which the Raleigh Police Department said that officers fired 23 shots before capturing the boy inside a barn-like structure. They found him on the ground with a gunshot wound to the head at 9:36pm.
A memorial to the mass shooting victims at one of Headingham's entrances on Sunday morning in Raleigh.
A memorial honoring the Raleigh mass shooting victims at one of Headingham's entrances on Sunday morning. Photo: Lucille Sherman/Axios

Driving the news: Law enforcement officials released a report with more details about the shooting Thursday — one week after it took place.

  • Officials are required to release a report within five business days of a shooting that involves a police officer firing a weapon.

Why it matters: The report provides a clearer picture of the shooting that shook the Raleigh community, which has been searching for answers since it happened. So far it has gotten little.

The shooting victims were: 52-year-old Nicole Conners, 34-year-old Mary Marshall, 49-year-old Susan Karnatz, 29-year-old Raleigh Police officer Gabriel Torres and 16-year-old James Roger Thompson.

  • Two others were shot, including senior police officer Casey Joseph Clark who has since recovered. The second victim is in the hospital and her condition had improved, Raleigh Police Chief Estella Patterson said Tuesday.

For the record: Police still have not publicly identified the suspect, although his parents released a statement on Tuesday, obtained by Axios, that identified him as Austin Thompson. It confirmed that he's the brother of victim James Thompson.

  • "Words cannot begin to describe our anguish and sorrow," Alan and Elise Thompson said in the statement.

The big picture: The report indicates the suspect was wearing camouflage and had a pistol, shotgun and knife on him during the deadly rampage. It does not say where he acquired those weapons. The report describes how the tragedy appears to have unfolded.

Zoom in: The killings appear to begin at a residence on ​​Sahalee Way, where public records show the Thompson family resides. The report indicates the suspect fatally shot and stabbed 16-year-old James Thompson.

  • The suspect then reportedly shot two people outside in the neighborhood, including Connors and her dog, who also died.
  • The report alleges he then shot Torres, an off-duty officer preparing to leave for work, in his car on the 6000 block of Osprey Cove and fled to the nearby Neuse River Greenway.
  • There, the suspect allegedly killed Marshall, who was walking her dog, and Karnatz, who was on a run. Marshall's dog is OK, a spokesperson for the city of Raleigh said.

Police arrived in the neighborhood by 5:19pm and spent the next 90 minutes searching for the suspect, according to the report. The suspect was ultimately located inside a barn-like structure nearly two miles from where the rampage began.

  • The suspect then fired at the officers, the report says, striking police officer Clark. They responded by firing 23 shots.

About 9:36pm, police officers approached the barn and found the suspect lying on the ground with a single gunshot wound to the head, according to the report.

  • The report does not indicate what caused the wound.
  • The suspect remains in the hospital in critical condition.

What's next: Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman told Axios Tuesday that the teen suspect had yet to be charged and he would not be until his condition is stable.

  • As of Thursday morning, the case had not been transferred to Superior Court, where Freeman plans to charge the suspect as an adult.

Of note: The city is holding a vigil in honor of the victims this Sunday from 3pm at Lichtin Plaza, 2 E. South St. It is hosted in partnership with the NAACP and Moms Demand Action.

Go deeper: Read the full report here

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