(CNN) — A 15-year-old will be charged as an adult for allegedly carrying out a mass shooting that left five people dead Thursday in Raleigh, North Carolina, prosecutors said, as calls to curb gun violence are renewed once again in the US.
The suspect, identified by police as a White male juvenile, was taken into custody by law enforcement after an hours-long manhunt Thursday.
The sprawling crime scene of more than two miles across the Raleigh neighborhood of Hedingham also left two people wounded in the attack, officials said. One of the five victims killed was off-duty police officer Gabriel Torres, 29, who shot while on his way to work.
“My heart is heavy, because we don’t have answers as to why this tragedy occurred,” Raleigh Police Chief Estella D. Patterson said during a news briefing Friday.
Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman told CNN on Friday her office intends on charging the suspect as an adult.
He is hospitalized in critical condition following his apprehension Thursday night after a standoff with police, officials said. Freeman said her office is monitoring the suspect’s condition.
As authorities investigate, few details have been provided related to how exactly the shooting unfolded.
In one of four 911 calls obtained by CNN, a caller told a dispatcher that the shooter was wearing camouflage and looked like he was 16. The caller said the gunman “walked by and shot” a police officer “for no reason.” Another caller reported that two neighbors had been shot. A third caller reported that a “kid running around here with a shotgun” shot a person and “ran back into the woods.”
The suspect donned camouflage clothing and carried a camouflage backpack, a source with knowledge of the investigation told CNN. After the shooting, a handgun and long gun were recovered, according to the source.
The other deceased victims identified by police are Nicole Conners, 52; Sue Karnatz, 49; Mary Marshall, 35; and James Roger Thompson, 16.
The two victims who were wounded include a responding police officer, who was later released from care.
Marcille Lynn Gardner, 59, remains in critical condition, Patterson said.
The mass shooting prompted a response from President Joe Biden, who lamented the harrowing loss of Americans to gun violence yet again and reiterated his call for an assault weapon ban.
“Enough,” Biden said. “We’ve grieved and prayed with too many families who have had to bear the terrible burden of these mass shootings.
“Too many families have had spouses, parents, and children taken from them forever,” the President added.
Families, community in mourning
Biden’s remarks come as the Raleigh community grieves the sudden loss of loved ones and neighbors.
Karnatz, one of the victims killed, was described by her husband, Tom, as a loving wife and mother to three boys, whose ages are 10, 13 and 14.
“We had plans together for growing old. Always together. Now those plans are laid to waste,” he wrote Friday on social media.
Christine Hines, who is Karnatz’ neighbor, said she feels as if her heart had been pierced by the loss. The pair had seen each other the day of the shooting while walking their dogs.
Marshall, another victim who was killed, was also walking her dog when she heard gunshots ring out, her sister Meaghan McCrickard told CNN.
After hearing the shots, Marshall called her fiancé to tell him about the firing and said she was heading back to the house, McCrickard said.
“She was my hero despite being my younger sister,” McCrickard added. The sisters were three years apart.
Marshall, a culinary arts alumnus of Wake Technical Community College, was described by faculty and classmates as “a hard worker with a good attitude and a determination to succeed,” the school said in a statement.
Thompson was a junior at Knightdale High School when he was fatally shot Thursday, principal Keith Richardson said in a statement.
“It is an unexpected loss and we are saddened by it,” said Richardson, noting that counseling and crisis services are available for students and staff.
‘It could have been us,’ teen says
Those who witnessed some of the violence unfold also described their anguish over what their neighbors endured.
A resident, who asked not to be identified, stood beside her 15-year-old daughter as she recounted that police cars, ambulances and fire trucks were descending when a neighbor approached.
“She had seen a ghost,” the resident said. “She comes towards us, and I’m, like, what happened, and she said, ‘I just witnessed my neighbor being shot in the driveway.’ She was completely in shock.”
The resident and her daughter locked themselves in a bedroom after an officer in an unmarked car told them there was an active shooter.
“I started crying,” her daughter recalled. And on Friday morning, she cried again.
“Imagining what people are going through,” she said. “And the fact that it was so close to us. It could have been us.”
McCrickard, Marshall’s sister, expressed frustration that gun violence has not been restrained further.
“We want to take this unimaginable opportunity to beg our local, national, and country leaders to finally step up and do something about gun control,” McCrickard said. “Being a leader is about leading and making decisions that benefit, support and keep our country safe. How many times do we have to hear our leaders say, ‘We’re sorry’ and ‘Something must be done?’ We demand action.”
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper echoed Biden’s sentiments following the shooting, saying the Raleigh community’s pain is unimaginable.
“We’re sad. We’re angry and we want to know the answers to all the questions,” the governor said. “Those questions will be answered. Some today and more over time. But 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.
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