Austin Thompson is a fifteen year old teen killer from Raleigh North Carolina who is accused of five murders including that of his brother (photo left). According to police records Austin Thompson using an assault rifle would first shoot and kill his brother sixteen year old James Thompson before killing his neighbor Nicole Connors. Austin Thompson would head to a walking trail where he would shoot and kill Susan Karnatz, 49, Mary Marshall, 35, and off-duty police officer Gabriel Torres, 29. Austin Thompson would also shoot at two others who would thankfully survive. Austin Thompson was also shot however it is not clear whether it was self inflicted or by police. Austin Thompson is now in critical care at a local hospital.
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In calls to 911 that began around 5 p.m. on Thursday, residents of Raleigh’s Hedingham neighborhood described gunshots and screams.
“I see a white kid running around here with a shot gun,” one caller told dispatchers. “He ran back into the woods near the Neuse River.”
“We heard some shots outside, and I looked out my window, and there is the neighbor on the ground I think,” a caller said
Another caller, secure inside a home on Osprey Cove Drive, described multiple shots then people screaming.
A third caller identified one of the victims as an off-duty police officer.
“I’ve got one down. One male down. Hispanic. This is bad. He’s an off-duty officer,” the caller said. The Raleigh Police Department on Friday said that Officer Gabriel Torres, 29, was among the dead.
Sources tell WRAL News that 15-year-old Austin Thompson is suspected of killing five and injuring two others in the shooting spree in an east Raleigh neighborhood on Thursday.
Raleigh Chief of Police Estella Patterson said the initial shooting occurred in the streets of the Hedingham neighborhood before the shooter ran onto The Neuse River Greenway, where more people were shot.
In addition to Torres, James Thompson, the older brother of the alleged shooter, Nicole Conners, 52, Mary Marshall, 34, and Susan Karnatz, 49, died.
Conners’ husband told WRAL News that he found his wife and her dog, Sami, both dead on their porch.
In addition to the five killed, two others were were injured. One of them was a Raleigh police officer, who was treated and released from the hospital. Marcielle Gardner, 59, was still at WakeMed on Friday in critical condition.
A man who lives in the neighborhood told WRAL News he saw the shooter outside the back window of his home after hearing gunshots. He saw a woman running in the same area.
“If this poor lady I saw that was jogging is hurt … I don’t know,” he described with emotion.
Raleigh police responded to a call of shots fired in the 6000 block of Osprey Cove Drive after 5 p.m. Thursday. Police searched door-to-door for hours in the Hedingham neighborhood and along the Neuse River trail before containing the teenage suspect around 9:30 p.m. in an area off Old Milburnie Road
Investigators on Friday morning were focusing their investigation on several homes on Sahalle Way, in the same neighborhood where the shooting occurred. WRAL News is working to learn the connection.
“He had to be between 13 and 16 max,” said a witness who saw the shooter. “He was a child. You just don’t imagine things like that. You hear about school shootings and stuff, but to really see something like that in your neighborhood is just …”
Neighbors were shaken. A man named Robert, a Hedingham resident, told WRAL News that he called 911 around 5 p.m.
“I heard two gunshots, and they were really loud so I knew something was close by, and then I heard three other gunshots,” he said. “I saw him basically pass my house in the backyard. He had a long-barrel shotgun. He was dressed in camo. He had a full backpack on that was also camouflage.”
“Tonight, terror has reached our doorstep,” said Gov. Roy Cooper, who spoke at a news conference at Raleigh city hall. “The nightmare of every community has come to Raleigh. This is a senseless, horrific and infuriating act of violence that has been committed.”
Cooper on Friday ordered all U.S. and North Carolina flags at state facilities to half-staff in honor of the victims.
“Today we’re sad, we’re angry, and we want to know the answers to all the questions,” he said Friday. “No neighborhood, no parent, no grandchild, no grandparent should feel this fear in this community. No one. As policymakers we will not turn away from what has happened here.”
“This is a sad and tragic day for the city of Raleigh,” said Mayor Mary Ann Baldwin. “We must stop this mindless violence in America. We must address gun violence.
Police swarmed the area of Osprey Cove Drive in the search and asked residents to stay indoors.
In the search for the suspect, police, sheriff’s deputies and state troopers spread out on in neighborhoods along the Neuse, and K-9 officers searched in an area along the woods near the intersection of Tarheel Club Road and Old Milburnie Road.
Part of New Bern Avenue was shut down, and access to and within Hedingham was limited for hours. The exit from eastbound Interstate 540 to Buffaloe Road was also shut down and traffic diverted to the north. Staff and students at nearby Beaver Dam Elementary were locked down, and the Marsh Creek community center and Buffaloe Aquatic Center were both evacuated.
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Sources have confirmed for The News & Observer that the suspect in Thursday night’s mass shooting is 15-year-old Austin Thompson, a sophomore at Knightdale High School and the brother of 16-year-old shooting victim James Thompson. Austin Thompson is hospitalized in critical condition at WakeMed, where he was taken after being captured by police Thursday night
Austin Thompson lived in the Hedingham neighborhood. Neighbors said he lived with his father, a handyman in the neighborhood, and would help on odd jobs. Several described unusual behavior from the son. ”I used to see him at 4:30, 5 in the morning with a bookbag on,” said Lavarius Thompson, a neighbor. “Buses don’t run till 7 in the morning.” Lavarius Thompson, who is unrelated to a victim with the same last name, said he normally works out in his garage, but something kept him from the habit Thursday night.
Austin Thompson was hospitalized after his capture late Thursday. The nature of his injuries has not been released. A “long standoff” unfolded Thursday evening, Police Chief Estella Patterson said
Police declined to discuss the motive or circumstances of the shooting, but promised to share more details in five days. In North Carolina, police prepare “five-day reports” outlining what transpired during a significant crime incident, usually when a police officer shoots someone.
It’s not yet clear whether the suspect knew any of the victims other than his brother. Police declined to say. Patterson said the gunman shot people in the streets of the Hedingham neighborhood, then fled in the direction of the Neuse River Greenway Trail, where he continued shooting. The victims were identified as: James Thompson, 16 Gabriel Torres, 29 Mary Marshall, 34 Susan Karnatz, 49 Nicole Conners, 53
Torres, a Raleigh police officer, was on his way to work when he was shot. Patterson said the crime scene spanned two miles and the investigation is ongoing.