Raleigh shooting: What we know about 15-year-old suspect Austin Thompson and five victims killed

The suspect was arrested after an hours-long manhunt

Johanna Chisholm
Wednesday 19 October 2022 15:09 BST
Five dead, including police officer, in North Carolina shooting

A mass shooting in Raleigh left at least five people dead and three more injured, including the alleged teenage gunman.

The suspect in the 13 October shooting was identified as 15-year-old Austin Thompson in a statement by his parents, but has not yet been officially named by police due to his age.

He was arrested and hospitalised with “life-threatening” injuries on the night of the attack after a four-hour manhunt in North Carolina’s capital city.

The five victims killed were identified as Nicole Connors, 52; Susan Karnatz, 49; Mary Marshall, 35, Gabriel Torres, 29; and James Thompson, 16 - the brother of the alleged gunman.

Among the three wounded were Marcel Gardner, 59, Raleigh police officer Casey Clark, 33, and the suspect.

Austin Thompson allegedly opened fire on a neighbourhood street at around 5pm, killing two people, before continuing shooting along a nearby trail.

No motive for the attack has been revealed, and the district attorney announced intention to charge the suspect as an adult.

Raleigh shooting suspect Austin Thompson (right) is seen with his older brother James
Raleigh shooting suspect Austin Thompson (right) is seen with his older brother James (via WRAL)

Here is everything we know about the shooting so far:

When did the shooting start?

Raleigh Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin confirmed the deaths at a news conference hours after the violent incident began on Thursday at around 5pm.

The shooting began in the streets of the Hedingham subdivision, with residents calling 911 to report gunfire and an armed individual wearing camouflage on Osprey Cove Drive.

“I’ve got one down. One male down. Hispanic. This is bad. He’s an off-duty officer,” one caller told dispatchers, likely referring to victim Gabriel Torres.

The other victim killed on the street was Nicole Connors, who was shot alongside her dog on her front porch.

As police began blocking off the area, two more victims were found injured on Sahalee Way. Among them was James Thompson, who later died.

The search for the gunman soon spread to the Neuse River Greenway, where two more women were found dead. They were Susan Karnatz, who had been out for a run, and Mary Marshall, who was walking her dog.

When was Austin Thompson arrested?

After evading arrest for several hours, officers confirmed that they had successfully apprehended the suspect believed to be responsible for the mass shooting at 9.37pm.

In addition to the Raleigh police force, multiple other agencies were tapped to assist in the manhunt for the suspect.

Witnesses who saw the violent episode unfold confirmed to WRAL that they’d seen the young man roaming through a backyard in the neighbourhood dressed in camouflage.

“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,” a witness in Raleigh described to the local news outlet.

Police provided scant details on Thursday about how the arrest took place, issuing updates only through their Twitter account where they first warned residents in the affected areas – McConnell Oliver Drive, Tarheel Club Drive, and Old Milburnie Road – to remain indoors.

And then later, about an hour after stating that the situation remained an “active investigation” that the “suspect is now in custody”.

ABC 11 reported that authorities had reportedly cornered the suspect in a barn off Buffaloe Road, located about a 12-minute drive away from the scene of the shooting.

Who is the suspected shooter?

Austin Thompson was identified as the shooter by his parents in a statement on 18 October.

“Words cannot begin to describe our anguish and sorrow,” parents Alan and Elise Thompson said in the statement. “Our son Austin inflicted immeasurable pain on the Raleigh community, and we are overcome with grief for the innocent lives lost. We pray for the families and loved ones of Nicole Conners, Susan Karnatz, Mary Marshall, and Raleigh Police Officer Gabriel Torres.”

“We mourn for their loss and for the loss of our son, James,” they continued. “We pray that Marcille ‘Lynn’ Gardner and Raleigh Police Officer Casey Clark fully recover from their injuries, and we pray for everyone who was traumatized by these senseless acts of violence.

“We have so many unanswered questions. There were never any indications or warning signs that Austin was capable of doing anything like this.

“Our family will continue to cooperate fully with law enforcement officials and do whatever we can to help them understand why and how this happened.”

Police have yet to name the suspect publicly due to his age, but the formal identification will likely come when he is charged as an adult.

Witnesses who saw the suspected shooter before the massacre was carried out described to WRAL how the boy looked to be no more than 16 years old.

“He had to be between 13 and 16 max – he was a child,” said a woman who was in the Raleigh neighbourhood just moments before the shooting began and believes she saw the suspected shooter.

Raleigh Police officers walk door-to-door checking on residents in the Hedingham neighborhood and Neuse River Trail area in Raleigh, N.C., after five people were shot and killed Thursday, Oct. 13, 2022
Raleigh Police officers walk door-to-door checking on residents in the Hedingham neighborhood and Neuse River Trail area in Raleigh, N.C., after five people were shot and killed Thursday, Oct. 13, 2022 (AP)

Other witnesses said that they believed the young man had been carrying a firearm that resembled a long-range barrel shotgun.

“I heard two gun shots,” one man told the local news outlet. “They were really loud so I knew something was close by. Then I heard three other gunshots. I saw him basically past by house in the backyard. He had a long-barrel shotgun, he was dressed in camouflage, and he had a full backpack on that was also camouflaged.”

Authorities confirmed that the suspect was in custody but had been hospitalised to treat life-threatening wounds, which they would not disclose if they were self-inflicted.

The suspect had reportedly been treated at Raleigh’s WakeMed, WRAL reported.

Do they have a record or known motive?

There is no reported motive in the mass shooting nor any details about any previous criminal records the suspect might’ve had.

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