RALEIGH, North Carolina – A North Carolina district attorney said Friday that she intends to charge the 15-year-old suspected of having mass shooting that killed five people in Raleigh as an adult.
Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman said his office has filed motions to transfer the case “to Superior Court and to prosecute the individual as an adult.”
The suspect, who has not been identified, remained hospitalized Friday in critical condition, authorities said.
Freeman’s announcement came as a neighborhood northeast of Raleigh was in shock and the families of those killed mourned their loss.
People were walking their dogs or out for a run when the shooter confronted them on Thursday evening, police said. They were between 16 and 50 years old and were identified as Nicole Connors, 52; Susan Karnatz, 49; Marie Marshall, 35; Gabriel Torres, 29, an off-duty Raleigh police officer who was on his way to work; and James Thompson, 16.
Two people were injured in the attack: Raleigh Police Officer Casey Clark, 33, who was treated and released from hospital, and Marcille Gardner, 59, who was listed in critical condition.
The shooting took place on Thursday in the street and then along the greenway of the Neuse river, police said.
Saynya Jones described her family’s heartbreaking encounter with the shooter.
“My family was outside walking on the green lane where he walked and they must have run into someone’s house,” Jones, 32, said on Friday. Jones lives a few houses away from Torres, one of the victims. “He shot someone in the park, then came downstairs and shot my neighbor as he was going out to get something from the car.”
“Why does a 15 year old have access to stuff like this?” she said of the suspect’s weapon.
Officials said the suspect was taken into custody after a “prolonged confrontation” with police and is in critical condition.
Connors was killed alongside her dog, Sami, a Jack Russell mix aged around 13.
Her husband remembered her on Friday as a “go-getter” and a caring person who always “watched out” for others.
She was a “caregiver” who quit a job in human resources to care for her mother after she suffered a stroke, her husband, Tracey Howard, told NBC News on Friday morning.
She always knew how to “take everything in charge” in order to help those close to her, said Howard, his voice heavy with emotion.
“I always thought it would be me leaving before she left,” he said.
Marshall, another shooting victim, was due to be married in two weeks, on October 29, his sister Meaghan McCrickard said Friday.
“Her fiancé Rob, he was just the love of her life,” McCrickard said. “I think we’re going to do a celebration of life again, that’s the plan, for the wedding date.”
“She’s just a light. She loved everyone. The most loyal, loving person I’ve ever known. And we just want people to know that about her,” McCrickard said.
But the family is still “numb” and “in disbelief”.
Ginny Marshall, Marshall’s mother, sobbed as she spoke of the loss of her daughter.
“Mary’s birthday is next week and she was getting married in two weeks,” she said with tears streaming down her cheeks. “We don’t know what to do.”
McCrickard said she wanted the shooter to survive his injuries and be brought to justice.
“I want him to know what he did and how he completely shattered our lives and we will never be the same again. I don’t want him to come down,” she said.
Karnatz, wife and mother of three boys, “loved life and nature, and had the sweetest heart,” her sister, Sharon Butler Kaivani, wrote in a Facebook post.
“She loved her family fiercely and there is a big hole there now,” she wrote. “As is the case with so many people who lose loved ones too soon, the tragedy seems so senseless, and I just can’t understand it.”
“I know this loss is one of many from yesterday, affecting so many. Deeply. Other families are hurting just like us,” she wrote.
Tom Karnatz, Susan’s husband, wrote a tribute to his wife describing ‘plans together for great adventures’ and ‘plans together for the mundane days in between’, plans with their three children and plans to grow old together.
“Now those plans are ruined,” he wrote.
Instead, the couple now have “memories together of happy occasions” and “memories together of simple times in between,” memories from before their children were born, and “many memories together” with their boys.
Keith Richardson, principal of Knightdale High School, said in a statement Friday that Thompson, the youngest victim, was a junior at the school.
“This is an incredibly difficult time for our school community as well as the wider Raleigh community,” Richardson wrote in a statement. “Our condolences, thoughts and prayers go out to James’ family, the other victims, their families and everyone affected by yesterday’s events.”
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper called the shooting “every community’s nightmare.”
President Joe Biden said Friday he was mourning alongside the families of loved ones killed “in a mass shooting in America” and called for a ban on assault weapons.
“We are thinking of another shaken and broken community as it mourns the loss of friends and neighbors, including an off-duty police officer,” Biden said in a statement.
Daniella Silva and Marlene Lenthang reported from New York, and Jo Yurcaba reported from North Carolina.