Suspected Raleigh gunman had shotgun, handgun and a knife, preliminary report says

Oct 20, 2022, 5:59 PM
Mourners gather at Beacon Baptist Church for a vigil after five people were gunned down in Raleigh,...
Mourners gather at Beacon Baptist Church for a vigil after five people were gunned down in Raleigh, North Carolina. The 15-year-old boy who allegedly killed five people and injured two last week in Raleigh was found with a shotgun, a handgun, and a knife. (Melissa Sue Gerrits/Getty Images via CNN)
(Melissa Sue Gerrits/Getty Images via CNN)

(CNN) — The 15-year-old boy who allegedly killed five people and injured two last week in Raleigh, North Carolina, was found with a shotgun, a handgun and a knife, according to a city report released Thursday.

Authorities have not yet learned the motive of the suspected gunman, who police found with a gunshot wound and is hospitalized in critical condition, according to the city manager’s preliminary report to the police chief.

The report doesn’t name the suspect, but his parents have identified him as Austin Thompson.

The suspect has not been charged. However, Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman has said her office intends on charging the 15-year-old as an adult.

A timeline in the report says authorities believe a 16-year-old boy, who was shot once and stabbed several times, died first. The suspect’s brother, James Roger Thompson, has been identified as the 16-year-old who was killed.

The report timeline based on the route authorities believe the suspect took says the gunman then wounded Marcille Gardner, 59, who was found in her driveway in the East Raleigh subdivision Hedingham. The suspect then fatally wounded Nicole Connors and killed her dog on their porch, and shot and killed an off-duty Raleigh police officer, 29-year-old Gabriel Torres, in his personal car as he was leaving for work, according to the report.

The suspect ran to a nearby greenway where he killed Mary Marshall, 35, who was walking her dog, and Susan Karnatz, 49, who was out for a jog, according to the report.

“Based on information currently available, there does not appear to be any connection between the victims that were shot by the suspect prior to his encounter with the police other than they lived in the same neighborhood,” the report adds.

About 90 minutes after the first 911 calls, police found the suspect in an area with two outbuildings on the property, the report says. An officer who was shot when the suspect opened fire from one of the outbuildings was the last gunshot victim.

Police returned fire and rescued the officer, the report says, which added that Raleigh officers fired 23 shots.

Officers then established a perimeter “due to concerns about the nature of the weapons he possessed to include multiple firearms, as well as possible hand grenades as reported in a 911 call.”

When the police moved in about three hours later, they found the suspect with a shotgun and shells nearby, according to the report. He had a handgun in his waistband and an empty knife sheath clipped to his belt. A knife was recovered at the front of the building, the report adds.

The suspect was shot once, the report says.

The two Raleigh Police officers who fired their guns are on administrative duty, according to the report.

The report, which city officials typically file five days after a shooting in which law enforcement is involved, also says police will petition to have the “agency recordings” of the two officers who used the weapons and the officer who was wounded during the search. In North Carolina, a judge must rule on the release of body cam videos.

The suspect’s parents released a statement Wednesday through their attorneys saying they’re devastated by the loss of innocent lives, including the death of their son James.

“Our son Austin inflicted immeasurable pain on the Raleigh community, and we are overcome with grief for the innocent lives lost,” Alan and Elise Thompson said in the statement, which was obtained by CNN affiliate WTVD. “Words cannot begin to describe our anguish and sorrow.”

The suspect’s parents say they don’t understand why the mass tragedy happened.

“We have so many unanswered questions,” the Thompsons said in their statement. “There were never any indications or warning signs that Austin was capable of doing anything like this.”

The parents said they will continue cooperating with law enforcement “and do whatever we can to help them understand why and how this happened.”

According to the non-profit Gun Violence Archive, there have been at least 546 mass shootings in the United States this year as of Tuesday. That’s an average of more than 1.8 mass shootings every day.

Both the Gun Violence Archive and CNN define a mass shooting as one in which at least four people are shot, excluding the shooter.

The-CNN-Wire™ & © 2022 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

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Suspected Raleigh gunman had shotgun, handgun and a knife, preliminary report says