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D.A. to charge Raleigh shooting suspect as an adult as chilling 911 calls describe chaos, bodies on the ground

People were walking their dogs or out for a run when a 15-year-old gunman confronted them Thursday evening in a neighborhood northeast of central Raleigh.
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RALEIGH, N.C. — A North Carolina district attorney said Friday that she intends to charge the 15-year-old suspected in a mass shooting that killed five people in Raleigh as an adult. 

Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman said that her office had filed petitions to transfer the case "to Superior Court and to proceed against the individual as an adult.”

The suspect, who has not been identified, remained hospitalized in critical condition Friday, authorities said. 

Freeman's announcement came as a neighborhood northeast of Raleigh was left reeling and families of those killed mourned their loss.

In 911 calls released Friday, several people described seeing bodies on the ground and begged the operators to send help.

“There’s people out front,” one man said. “I think someone just got shot. I think I heard three or four gunshots. There were people screaming.”

Another caller said that two of her neighbors had been shot and that one was lying in a bush and the other on a porch.

“We heard the shots and we heard them screaming,” she said. “And so we got down.”

In another call, a man said an off-duty officer had been shot in the chest and described the shooter as wearing “all camouflage.”

The massacre unfolded Thursday evening on the street and then along the Neuse River Greenway as people were walking their dogs or out for a run, police said. The victims ranged in age from 16 to their 50s and have been identified as Nicole Connors, 52; Susan Karnatz, 49; Mary Marshall, 35; Gabriel Torres, 29, an off-duty Raleigh police officer who was on his way to work; and James Thompson, 16. 

Two people were injured in the attack: Raleigh Police Officer Casey Clark, 33, who was treated and released from a hospital, and Marcille Gardner, 59, who was listed in critical condition.

Saynya Jones described her family's harrowing encounter with the gunman.

“My family was outside actually walking back on the greenway where he walked down and they had to run into somebody’s house,” Jones, 32, said Friday. Jones lives a few houses down from Torres, one of the victims. “He shot somebody in the park and then came down and shot my neighbor while he was coming out to get something in the car.”

“Why did a 15-year-old have access to stuff like that?” she said of the suspect’s weapon.

Officials said the suspect was taken into custody after a “long standoff” with police and was in critical condition.

Nicole Connors
Nicole Connors and her dog, Sami, were shot and killed.Courtesy Tracey Howard

Connors was killed alongside her dog, Sami, a roughly 13-year-old Jack Russell mix.

Her husband remembered her Friday as a “go-getter” and a caring person who always “looked out for” others.

She was a “caregiver” who left a job in human resources to care for her mother after she had a stroke, her husband, Tracey Howard, told NBC News on Friday morning.

She always knew how to “take charge of everything” in order to help her loved ones, Howard said, his voice heavy with emotion.

“I always thought it would be me to go before she went,” he said.

Mary Marshall.
Mary Marshall, 35, was to be married at the end of the month.Mary Marshall via Facebook / via Facebook

Marshall, another victim of the shooting, was set to be married in two weeks, Oct. 29, her sister Meaghan McCrickard said on Friday. 

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

“She is just a light. She loved everyone. The most loyal, loving person I’ve ever known. And we just want people to know that about her,” McCrickard said.

But the family is still “numb” and in “disbelief.” 

Ginny Marshall, Marshall’s mother, sobbed as she spoke about the loss of her daughter. 

“Mary’s birthday is next week and she was going to be married in two weeks,” she said with tears running down her cheeks. “We don’t know what to do.”

McCrickard said she wants the shooter to survive his injuries and face justice. 

“I want him to know what he did and how he completely shattered our lives and we are never going to be the same. I don’t want him to get off,” she said.

Susan Karnatz
Susan Karnatz had three boys and loved nature, her sister said.Sue Butler Karnatz via Facebook

Karnatz, a wife and mother to three boys, “loved life and nature, and had the most gentle of hearts,” her sister, Sharon Butler Kaivani, wrote in a post on Facebook.

“She loved her family fiercely and there is a big hole there now,” she wrote. “As is the case for so many who lose loved ones too soon, the tragedy seems so very senseless, and I just can’t understand it.” 

“I know that this loss is one of many yesterday, affecting so many people. Profoundly. Other families are aching just as we are,” she wrote.

Tom Karnatz, Susan’s husband, wrote a tribute to his wife describing “plans together for big adventures” and “plans together for the mundane days in between,” plans with their three children and plans to grow old together.

“Now those plans are laid to waste,” he wrote. 

Instead, the couple now has “memories together of joyous occasions” and “memories together of plain times in between,” memories from before their children were born and “many memories together” with their boys.

Keith Richardson, principal of Knightdale High School, said in a statement Friday that Thompson, the youngest victim, was a junior at the school.

“This is an incredibly difficult time for our school community as well as the broader Raleigh community,” Richardson wrote in a statement. “Our condolences, thoughts, and prayers go out to James’ family, the other victims, their families and all who have been impacted by yesterday’s events.”

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper called the shooting spree “the nightmare of every community.”

President Joe Biden said Friday that he was grieving alongside the families of loved ones killed "in yet mass shooting in America" and called for a ban on assault weapons.

“We are thinking of yet another community shaken and shattered as they mourn the loss of friends and neighbors, including an off-duty police officer," Biden said in a statement.

Daniella Silva and Marlene Lenthang reported from New York, and Jo Yurcaba reported from North Carolina.