A 15-year-old boy who allegedly killed five people and injured two in a shooting in Raleigh, North Carolina, will be charged as an adult, authorities said.
Authorities did not immediately comment on what charges the teenager may face. But Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman said adult charges will be brought.
“In this situation, there is no doubt that the massive loss of life, in my opinion, this case should be transferred and tried in a higher court,” Freeman said during a press conference Friday. “We are ready for justice to be sought for these families.”
Raleigh Police Chief Estella Patterson said the teenager was captured hours after the victims were shot Thursday night. The suspect was hospitalized in critical condition. Authorities did not immediately say how he was injured. Patterson said police have not determined a motive.
The victims were of different races and aged from 16 to their late 50s, Patterson said. Family and friends said some were shot while carrying out daily activities – an off-duty police officer was killed on his way to work, a deceased woman was on her porch talking to a neighbor, another dead woman was walking her dog, another was exercising.
One of the killed, 16-year-old James Thompson, was identified by the Raleigh News and Observer as the suspect’s older brother.
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper called the shooting “an infuriating and tragic act of gun violence.”
He added: “No neighborhood, no parent, no child, no grandparent, no one should feel this fear in their community – no one.”
Gunfire broke out around 5 p.m. in a residential area northeast of downtown Raleigh, Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin said. Police say the teenager fled to a walking path and continued shooting.
An officer, Gabriel Torres, 29, was among those killed. The other victims were Nicole Connors, 52; Marie Marshall, 34; Susan Karnatz, 49; and Thompson.
The suspect eluded officers for hours, at a crime scene that spanned two miles, before being cornered in a house and arrested, Patterson said.
Several 911 calls were made at the time of the shooting, recordings of which have been released by Raleigh police. People told emergency dispatchers they encountered bodies on the street, on front lawns and along the trail, which is popular with runners and cyclists.
Callers said the shooter was wearing camouflage and carrying a shotgun. One of the first calls came in around 5:12 p.m., with a caller reporting that he saw Torres being shot.
“He just walked through and shot him. He walked by and shot her for no reason,” the caller said.
Another caller said he heard gunshots and screams and saw bodies.
“There’s someone lying by the bush and someone lying on the porch,” the caller said.
Mary Marshall’s sister told NBC News that Marshall was walking her dog, Scruff, when she was killed. Connors’ husband said she was on the porch talking to a neighbor. Marcille Lynn Gardner, 59, was talking to Connors when she was shot. Gardner was hospitalized in critical condition. A second officer, Casey Joseph Clark, 33, was injured and released from hospital.
Tom Karnatz said his wife was an avid runner.
“She was a very loving wife and an incredible mother to our three sons,” he said, through tears. “We are heartbroken and miss her very much.”
Woodrow Glass, a 74-year-old retiree and neighbor of Connors, said he spoke to her almost every day as she walked her dog.
“She was friendly with everyone in the neighborhood, spoke with everyone … and was really respected here. And she will be missed,” he said.
In a statement, Joe Biden said he and Jill Biden were in mourning and that his administration was working with Cooper to help local authorities.
“Enough. We have cried and prayed with too many families who have had to bear the terrible burden of these mass shootings,” the president said.
Omer Rosas, a sophomore at Knightdale High School, said he was shocked to learn his classmate had been arrested.
“I didn’t expect it to be him,” Rosas said. “He was very calm. He wasn’t mean. He was open to being nice to everyone.
Rosas said the teenager was likeable and athletic, a little guy who loves to run and was considering joining the school track team. Thompson, the 16-year-old victim who turned out to be the suspect’s brother, was in first grade at school.
The shooting was the latest in a violent week across the United States. Five people were killed last Sunday at a home in Inman, South Carolina. Two police officers were killed in Connecticut on Wednesday after they were apparently lured into an ambush. Officers were also shot in Greenville, Mississippi; Decatur, Ill.; Philadelphia, Las Vegas and Central Florida. Two officers, one in Greenville and one in Las Vegas, were killed.
Thursday’s violence was the 25th massacre in 2022 in which victims were killed, according to the Associated Press/USA Today/Northeastern University Mass Killings database. A mass murder is defined as when four or more people are killed, excluding the perpetrator.