Raleigh police place two officers on administrative leave after teenage suspect allegedly kills five people

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The Raleigh Police Department has put two of its officers on administrative leave after a 15-year-old killed five people on Oct. 13.

15-year-old Austin Thompson allegedly killed five people during the shooting in the Hedingham neighborhood of Raleigh, including his 16-year-old brother and an off-duty police officer on his way to work. Two others were wounded in the shooting.

Justin Thompson died after suffering gunshot and stab wounds, according to an initial police report released Thursday. Austin Thompson, the suspect, is in critical condition.

Austin Thompson allegedly exchanged fire with two police officers.

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Police say a 15-year-old boy shot at least two people in the streets of a neighborhood in the North Carolina capital, then fled toward a walking path, where he opened fire, killing and wounding others.
(AP Photo/Chris Seward)

A spokesperson for the Raleigh Police Department told Fox News Digital that both Sgt. KM Smithey and Officer DM Garner have been placed on administrative leave.

Wake County District Attorney Lauren Freeman told Fox News Digital earlier that she plans to charge the 15-year-old as an adult, “assuming he recovers.”

off-duty police officer Gabriel Torres, 29; Nicole Connors, 52 years old; Susan Karnats, 49; and Mary Marshall, 35; Among those killed in the shooting.

A second Raleigh police officer was also released from the hospital in the days following the shooting. Marcel Lynn Gardner, 59, is in critical condition after being shot days before she turned 60.

Police said the initial call to 911 about the shooting was made at 5:09 p.m., followed by another call at 5:14 p.m. related to two people who fell after the shooting.

The first three victims were Justin Thompson, Gardner and Connors. Police were later told that Officer Torres had been shot by a man in camouflage clothing who was in possession of a rifle.

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Police also said that a preliminary investigation reveals that the victims and the 15-year-old suspect have no connection besides living in the same neighbourhood.

“As the search area expands, many nearby buildings have begun to include schools and living facilities with the help of lockdown protocols,” Raleigh Police Chief Estella de Patterson said in the report.

Police officers found Thompson at 6:42 p.m. in an area around McConnell Oliver Drive that contained two “barn-like” buildings.

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A Raleigh police officer allows a person to go home on Shalley Road, which remains closed except for residents after the shooting in Raleigh, North Carolina, seen Friday, October 14, 2022.

A Raleigh police officer allows a person to go home on Shalley Road, which remains closed except for residents after the shooting in Raleigh, North Carolina, seen Friday, October 14, 2022.
(AP Photo/Chris Seward)

Officers fired a total of about 23 rounds in Thompson’s direction after responding to the area, but tactical officers did not enter a building until 9:34 p.m., when they found the 15-year-old suspect with a single crime. A gunshot wound.

“At the time, he was wearing camouflage clothing and a backpack, and had a pistol in his waistband. The backpack contained various items, including several types of rifle/rifle ammunition. A large knife scabbard was found slashed in his belt,” Patterson wrote in the report. “A large hunting knife was found at the front of the outbuilding. A rifle and shotgun shells were lying on the ground near him.”

Thompson was restrained by police officers by 9:36 p.m.

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Shooter Rally Austin Thompson (circled) and his brother James.  The frenzy resulted in five deaths and two injuries.

Shooter Rally Austin Thompson (circled) and his brother James. The frenzy resulted in five deaths and two injuries.
(Facebook)

According to the report, the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation is investigating the circumstances surrounding the two officers who allegedly exchanged fire with the 15-year-old.

Alan and Elise Thompson, the suspect’s parents, issued a public statement on Tuesday, stating that they are “overwhelmed with grief.”

“Words cannot begin to describe our suffering and grief,” the parents wrote in a statement obtained by The Associated Press. “Our son Austin has done immeasurable harm to the Raleigh community, and we grieve for the innocent lives we lost.”

Alan and Elise Thompson said they had “a lot of unanswered questions”.

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Police are advising nearby residents to stay indoors.

Police are advising nearby residents to stay indoors.
(WRAL)

“There were no indications or warning signs that Austin was capable of doing anything like this,” Thompson wrote. “Our family will continue to cooperate fully with law enforcement officials and do everything we can to help them understand why and how this happened.”

Raleigh Police Chief, Estella D. Patterson, the crime scene lasted “for more than two miles.”

Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call 919-996-1193.

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