A 15-year-old suspect was taken into custody after a “long standoff” with police in connection with a shooting that killed five people and left two others injured Thursday evening in Raleigh, North Carolina, officials said.
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper called the shooting spree “the nightmare of every community.”
The shooting unfolded in a neighborhood northeast of central Raleigh and prompted warnings for residents to stay inside. One of the fatally wounded was an off-duty police officer, Mayor Mary-Anne Baldwin said.
In a news conference Friday morning, Raleigh Police Chief Estella D. Patterson said the suspect had been taken into custody and was in critical condition.
He was not identified.
No information regarding a motive or the suspect’s background was released.
Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman, in response to questions about when the suspect will be charged and what he will be charged with, said prosecutors intend to try him as an adult.
“We continue to await word on the suspect’s condition. Juvenile petitions have been filed. It would be our intent to seek to transfer these matters to Superior Court and to proceed against the individual as an adult.”
Patterson said the victims who were killed ranged in age from 16 to 52.
They were identified as: Nicole Connors, 52; Susan Karnatz, 49; Mary Marshall, 35; off-duty Raleigh police Officer Gabriel Torres, 29, who was on his way to work; and a 16-year-old white male. The teenager’s high school identified him Friday as James Thompson.
The two people who were injured were identified as Raleigh Police Officer Casey Clark, 33, who was treated and released from a hospital; and Marcille Gardner, 59, who was in critical condition.
“Tonight terror has reached our doorstep,” Cooper told reporters Thursday evening. “The nightmare of every community has come to Raleigh. This is a senseless, horrific and infuriating act of violence that has been committed.”
Baldwin said: “We have to end this mindless gun violence that is happening across our country. There are too many victims. We have to wake up.”
Patterson said Friday morning the crime scene was “expansive” and stretched over two miles.
President Joe Biden said in a statement Friday he is grieving alongside the families whose loved ones were killed. He also called for a ban on assault weapons.
“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,” Biden said. “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.”
He continued, “This year, and even in just the five months since Buffalo and Uvalde, there are too many mass shootings across America, including ones that don’t even make the national news. … We must pass an assault weapons ban.”
In a statement Friday from Knightdale High School Principal Keith Richardson, he announced that junior James Thompson was one of the victims in the mass shooting. The school will provide mental health resources for students and staff who need it, Richardson said.
“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.”
Police responded to a call about a person shot shortly after 5 p.m. in the 6000 block of Osprey Cove Drive. Patterson said the shootings unfolded in the streets of the neighborhood, then the suspect fled towards the Neuse River Greenway, where more victims were shot.
The police department advised residents in the leafy neighborhood known as Hedingham to remain indoors. Aerial video from NBC affiliate WRAL showed a large police presence.
A witness named Robert Anderson told NBC’s “TODAY” show that he saw the gunman from his back deck.
“He had a camouflage shirt, camouflage pants, black boots, he also had a backpack that looked like it was filled to the brim,” he said in an interview aired Friday.
“He was walking, and when I tell you he was walking, it was like nothing had happened,” Anderson explained. “He was just walking looking straight forward. He had his gun on his side and it was pointed downwards and he was just walking.”
Another witness told WRAL that she saw neighbors trying to help the off-duty officer, who was inside a car bleeding.
The witness told the station that she saw the gunman run from the scene and disappear into a nearby park. He was wearing black boots and appeared to be a teenager, she said.
“He looked like a baby,” she told WRAL, adding: “I just don’t even have the words to explain. This is not OK.”
CORRECTION (Oct. 14, 2022, 10:10 a.m. ET): A previous version of this article misstated the age of one of those injured. The victim in critical condition is 59, not 50.