Raleigh teenager’s rampage began when he fatally shot his brother, new report claims


RALEIGH, North Carolina – Police believe the shooting that left five deaths in the North Carolina capital last week began when the 15 year old suspect shot and killed his older brother, according to a report released Thursday.

More details about the shootings have emerged from the four-page preliminary report that the Raleigh police chief provided to the city manager. These summaries are written within five business days of a shooting involving an officer.

Those who died in the October 13 shooting included an off-duty city policeman who lived Hedingham district where the shooting started, according to the police. Two others were injured, including another community resident who remains in critical but stable condition, according to the report.

Witnesses had described a gunman wearing camouflage clothing, which the report confirmed, firing a shotgun into the subdivision and along a nearby walking path.

Police said the suspect – still unnamed in the report as he is a minor but identified by his parents this week – was captured in a barn-like structure more than four hours after the first emergency call was made. The report says the teenager walked almost 3km from where his brother was found shot and stabbed. Police said they exchanged gunfire with the teenager and an officer was injured. The officer was treated at a hospital and discharged that evening.

The report says officers gave the suspect repeated orders to surrender and special officers worked to determine his exact location. The police finally decided to advance towards the building where he was found.

When officers arrested the teenager, he appeared to have a single gunshot wound and had a handgun in his belt. A shotgun and shells were nearby, according to the report. He did not describe how he obtained the weapons or how he was injured.

The report was released the same day the first memorial service for the victims was held at a Raleigh church – where a basketball jersey and shorts were placed on a closed casket.

James Thompson, 16, the youngest of those killed and Austin Thompson’s brother, was “just getting to that age where the whole world was opening up to him,” said Jeff Roberts, senior pastor of Trinity Baptist Church, during the service.

“And we remember his life – a life filled with joy and laughter and experiences that shaped him and are shaping his future,” the pastor said.

When he was younger, James Thompson was a calm, smiling presence in Sunday school, but a fierce player in the church basketball program. He was a kid who picked up used golf balls at the golf course, cleaned them and sold them.

As he got older, the teenager developed an interest in cooking and tried new ideas after watching YouTube videos from celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay. The teenager loved deep-sea fishing. And he was starting to think about college, maybe the nearby North Carolina State University.

“We don’t want this moment to define James’ life,” the pastor said. “Some of the events of the past week will be part of his story. But I want you to know that’s not his whole story.

Roberts also spoke aloud the names of the other victims.

“We are a community that is grieving, grieving with this family and grieving with so many other families as well,” Roberts said.

Meanwhile, Austin Thompson remains in critical condition, according to the report. His mother said on Wednesday he had been moved to a pediatric intensive care unit. The main local prosecutor said she would seek to charge the youngster as an adult.

The teenager had a backpack containing several types of rifle and shotgun ammunition, according to the report, and the sheath of a large knife strapped to his belt. A hunting knife was found outside the outhouse where it was captured, police said.

Based on the teen’s estimated direction of travel, police believe James Thompson was shot first, according to the report.

“The collective motive for these attacks is still unknown,” Chief Estella Patterson’s report said, adding that there does not appear to be a connection between the victims shot by the suspect before he met police, except that they all lived nearby.

According to the report, emergency communications received a call for duty at 5:09 p.m. based on multiple shots fired near the neighborhood golf course.

Minutes later, a 911 caller reported hearing gunshots and seeing two victims outside a house on the same street where the 16-year-old was discovered in a residence. Police believe the teenager shot Marcille Lynn Gardner, who was found injured in the driveway, and then shot Nicole Connors, 52, who lived in the house. Connors was shot on his porch and later died. Gardner, 60, remains hospitalized.

Shortly after, off-duty Raleigh Police Officer Gabriel Torres was shot and killed in his car on another street in the neighborhood as he was about to leave for work, according to the report. Torres, 29, later died in hospital.

It was then that the teenager fled to the Neuse River Greenway trail, according to the report, where minutes later a 911 caller found two other victims along the trail who died on places. They were Mary Marshall, 34, walking her dog, and Susan Karnatz, 49, running.

Officers who had swarmed the area located the teen just over an hour later in an area with two barn-like structures. It was then that police said they believed he had fired at officers from one of the buildings and several officers returned fire. Raleigh police estimated their officers fired 23 shots. Two city officers who discharged their firearms were placed on administrative duty.

The parents of two teenagers released a statement earlier this week saying they are “overwhelmed with grief” and have seen no warning signs that “Austin was capable of doing something like this.” A lawyer for the family did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment on the report.


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