What we know about the Raleigh shooting victims

Oct 18, 2022, 8:46 PM | Updated: Oct 19, 2022, 9:26 am
Raleigh's Hedingham neighborhood entrance sign becomes a makeshift memorial Saturday, Oct. 15, 2022...

Raleigh's Hedingham neighborhood entrance sign becomes a makeshift memorial Saturday, Oct. 15, 2022, following Thursday's mass shooting in the neighborhood and on the nearby Neuse River greenway trail. (Travis Long/The News & Observer via AP)

(Travis Long/The News & Observer via AP)

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — An avid runner and the mother of three boys. A woman who was the “rock” of her family and knew everyone in the neighborhood. A Navy veteran whose wedding was two weeks away.

These were among the victims of Thursday’s shooting rampage in North Carolina’s capital city, Raleigh, that claimed five lives and wounded two others.

A 15-year-old boy opened fire, killing a total of five people in the city’s Hedingham neighborhood and along the nearby Neuse River Greenway, police said. One of those slain was an off-duty Raleigh police officer who was headed to work. Another person who was killed was the 16-year-old brother of the teen shooter, the parents of the boys said in a statement on Tuesday.

A woman and a second Raleigh police officer also were wounded.

Among the dead were:

NICOLE CONNORS

Connors, 52, was the matriarch of her extended family, the one who “got things done,” her husband Tracey Howard told The Associated Press.

When her father died, she was the one who went to Veterans Affairs to straighten things out — using “choice words” — to ensure he was buried in a veterans cemetery, Howard said. She also left her job in human resources to care for her mother after she had a stroke.

“Anything that had to be done, she was going to do it,” Howard said. “And she was going to make sure it was done right.”

Connors and her husband liked to get out of the house and explore Raleigh’s restaurant scene. They had tickets for the next Black Panther film, coming out in November, and planned to go to the North Carolina State Fair.

Late Thursday afternoon, Howard left the house to get food for lunch — he works the third shift — and to buy a lightbulb for the porch. Connors had taken a friend to Red Lobster to celebrate her friend’s birthday before coming home.

“She couldn’t have been home more than five or 10 minutes before this happened,” Howard said.

Connors and a neighbor, who was listed among the wounded, were shot, Howard said.

“Her friend was more or less by the driveway like she was about to go home or was on her way home, and my wife was on the porch,” Howard said.

Howard is left to wonder what motivated the shooting.

“It is just a senseless killing,” he said. “People outside enjoying the weather, talking. Next thing you know they’re gone. It’s just stupid. It’s senseless.”

Connors’ neighbors said she was always friendly while walking her Jack Russell terrier, Sami.

Marvin Judd said Connors was a “sweet person” with a “good heart.”

“And she was always kind and gentle to everybody she met,” Judd said. “She didn’t meet strangers. Everybody was a friend to her.”

SUSAN KARNATZ

Her husband, Tom Karnatz, told the AP that she “was a very loving wife and amazing mother to our three sons. We’re absolutely heartbroken and miss her dearly.”

Karnatz, 49, was an avid runner who frequented the greenway where some of the shootings occurred. She had completed 5.1 miles of her planned 7-mile run on the greenway the night she died.

Two cars parked in the driveway had matching 26.2 stickers — marking the mileage of a marathon. The license plate of a minivan said “RUNNR.”

In a Facebook post, Tom Karnatz wrote that he and his wife had big — and little — plans together.

“We had plans together for big adventures,” he wrote. “And plans together for the mundane days in between. We had plans together with the boys. And we had plans together as empty nesters. We had plans together for growing old. … Now those plans are laid to waste.”

Karnatz had completed the Boston Marathon four times, according to an obituary. She was a school psychologist before pausing to homeschool her three sons, which “brought her joy, purpose and fulfillment.”

“She was fun, often tickled by quirky humor, and if she got going, would laugh until she cried,” the obituary said. “She listened without judgment, provided wise advice when asked, and offered kind words and gentle reassurance to those around her. Her absence is profound in the hearts of friends and family.”

MARY MARSHALL

Marshall, 34, was killed while walking her dog Scruff and was planning to get married on Oct. 29, her sister told NBC News.

“Her fiance Rob, he was just the love of her life,” Meaghan McCrickard told NBC. “I think we’re going to still do a celebration of life, that’s the plan, for the date of the wedding.”

“She’s got a friend coming from Japan, somebody coming from Florida, from Texas,” McCrickard said. “As excited as she was to be married, I know she was more excited to have all the people she loved the most at the same place at the same time.”

When the shooting started, Marshall was walking Scruff on the Neuse River Greenway, her sister told NBC.

“She had called her fiance Rob and said, ‘I’m walking the dog, I’m hearing these gunshots, can you come home?’ And that was the last conversation that they had,” McCrickard said.

In another interview with NBC, Marshall’s fiance recalled what she had said over the phone: “I need you to come home right now — immediately. Scruff (our dog) has slipped his collar, and I just heard gunshots.”

Marshall went after Scruff. Robert Steele rushed home. When he got there, a detective was outside.

“He started asking about tattoos that Mary has,” Steele said through tears, while holding the wedding band he planned to give her. “We knew she was gone.”

Marshall’s step-grandmother, Donna Marshall, told the Raleigh News & Observer that Mary Marshall had served in the Navy and attended culinary school before moving back to the Raleigh area three years ago.

“She loved to go to the beach, and she was an absolute fanatic about Disney World,” Donna Marshall told the newspaper.

Scruff had effectively chosen Marshall as his owner when he sat on her lap at an animal shelter, her step-grandmother said.

“It’s going to be extremely difficult for her mom and dad and her sister and her close family,” Donna Marshall said. “It’s just going to be awful.”

GABRIEL TORRES

Torres, 29, was on his way to work when he was fatally shot in the Hedingham neighborhood, police said. Raleigh Police Chief Estella D. Patterson said Torres was not in uniform or in his patrol car at the time of the shooting, according to the News & Observer.

Torres leaves behind a wife and child, the chief said. Torres was on the job for 18 months. Before that, he served as a U.S. Marine at Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville.

After he was shot on Thursday, Torres spent his final moments “surrounded by his wife, daughter, neighbors, as well as his brothers and sisters in blue and other emergency personnel from the great city of Raleigh,” according to his obituary.

Torres grew up in Jackson, New Jersey, and joined the Marines at age 24, the obituary said. When he was 25, he married Jasmin, “the love of his life.” Their daughter Layla was born in 2020.

“Gabriel was a family man, a doting husband and the sweetest dad. When he wasn’t working, he would help his wife with dinner, run errands, parent his daughter, love on his dog, Benji, watch movies and play his video games,” his obituary said. “He was a die hard New York Knicks and New York Jets fan, no matter the taunts that came with it. He was often used for his height by his wife who could not reach many things.”

Back the Blue NC, a nonprofit that advocates for law enforcement officials, launched a fundraiser for Torres’ family through GoFundMe. It had raised $106,000 as of Wednesday morning.

JAMES THOMPSON

Thompson, 16, particularly enjoyed deep sea fishing, playing basketball through a church program and various games on his PlayStation 4, according to an obituary.

“He enjoyed visits to his grandmother’s house, amusement parks, sporting events and trips to the beach and mountains,” the obituary said.

Thompson was a junior at Knightdale High School in Raleigh, according to a statement from Principal Keith Richardson.

“It is an unexpected loss and we are saddened by it,” Richardson said. “Our condolences, thoughts, and prayers go out to James’ family, the other victims, their families and all who have been impacted.”

Alan and Elise Thompson confirmed in a statement on Tuesday that their son James Thompson was among the five people fatally shot by another son, Austin Thompson, 15, on Thursday night.

“There were never any indications or warning signs that Austin was capable of doing anything like this,” the statement said.

Austin Thompson remains hospitalized in critical condition following his arrest on Thursday night, hours after the shooting began.

The school board chair and superintendent of the Wake County Public School System issued a statement saying they are “shocked, saddened and broken-hearted.”

“Our hearts go out to the victims’ loved ones, and our community continues to seek answers around this tragedy and solutions to prevent such unspeakable events in the future,” the statement said.

___

Finley reported from Norfolk, Virginia.

___

Associated Press researcher Rhonda Shafner contributed to this report.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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What we know about the Raleigh shooting victims