RALEIGH, N.C. — A 15-year-old boy fatally shot two people in the streets of a middle-class Raleigh neighborhood, then fled toward a popular walking trail where he opened fire, killing three more people and wounding two others in an attack that left the city reeling and authorities searching for a motive, police said Friday.
Raleigh Police Chief Estella Patterson said the teen was captured hours after the Thursday evening shooting. He was hospitalized and in critical condition following his arrest. Authorities have not said how he was injured.
The victims were of different races and ranged in age from 16 to their late 50s, Patterson said during a news conference. The dead include off-duty Raleigh police officer Gabriel Torres, 29, who was on his way to work when the shooting began. Police identified the other victims as Nicole Connors, 52; Mary Marshall, 34; Susan Karnatz, 49; and James Roger Thompson, 16.
Marcille Lynn Gardner, 59, was wounded and remained hospitalized in critical condition Friday. A second police officer, Casey Joseph Clark, 33, was wounded and released from the hospital.
Shooter Eludes Police for Hours
The teen, who was not immediately identified by police, eluded officers for hours — setting off a manhunt across a crime scene that stretched for 2 miles — before he was cornered in a home and arrested, Patterson said.
Gov. Roy Cooper called the shooting an “infuriating and tragic act of gun violence.”
“Today we’re sad, we’re angry and we want to know the answers to all the questions,” Cooper said. “I think we all know the core truth — no neighborhood, no parent, no child, no grandparent, no one should feel this fear in their communities — no one.”
The gunfire broke out around 5 p.m. Thursday in a residential area northeast of downtown, Raleigh Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin said. Officers from numerous law enforcement agencies swarmed the area, closing roads and warning residents to stay inside while they searched for the shooter.
The Hedingham neighborhood, where the shooting began, is a residential area of single-family and townhomes, as well as a golf club. The Neuse River Greenway, a walking and biking trail, runs just behind houses in the neighborhood. The trail runs about 27 miles along the river and connects to the state’s Mountains-to-Sea Trail that’s popular with thru-hikers. The stretch behind the neighborhood is paved and lies down a grassy slope from the houses.
About the Victims
Karnatz’s husband, Tom Karnatz, said she was an avid runner who often ran on the greenway.
“She was a very loving wife and amazing mother to our three sons,” he said through tears when he answered the door at the family’s home Friday. “We’re absolutely heartbroken and miss her dearly.”
In the driveway, a silver minivan and a Toyota Camry had matching 26.2 stickers — symbolizing the miles of a marathon. The minivan’s license plate read simply: “RUNNR.”
Woodrow Glass, a 74-year-old retiree and neighbor of Connors, said he talked to her nearly every day as she walked her small dog.
“She was friendly with everybody in the neighborhood, spoke with everybody … and was really respected here. And we’re going to miss her,” he said.
Baldwin said the shooting has brought home the need to “end senseless gun violence that has grips on our country and now on our city.”
“We have to do something,” she said.
Violent Week in America
In a statement Friday, President Joe Biden said he and First Lady Jill Biden are grieving with victims’ families, and his administration is working closely with Cooper to help local authorities with their investigation.
The Raleigh shooting was the latest in a violent week across the country. Five people were killed Sunday in a shooting at a home in Inman, South Carolina. On Wednesday night two police officers were fatally shot in Connecticut after apparently being drawn into an ambush by an emergency call about possible domestic violence. Police officers have been shot this week in Greenville, Mississippi; Decatur, Illinois; Philadelphia, Las Vegas, and central Florida. Two of those officers, one in Greenville and one in Las Vegas, were killed.
Thursday’s violence was the 25th mass killing in 2022 in which the victims were fatally shot, according to The Associated Press/USA TODAY/Northeastern University Mass Killings database. A mass killing is defined as when four or more people are killed excluding the perpetrator.