What we know about the victims of the Raleigh shooting – WNYT NewsChannel 13 | Team Cansler

RALEIGH, NC (AP) — An avid runner and 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.

They were among the victims of Thursday’s shooting in Raleigh, the North Carolina capital, that killed five and injured two others.

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

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

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 set things straight — with “well-chosen words” — to ensure he was buried in a veterans’ cemetery, Howard said. She also quit her job in human resources to take care of her mother after she had a stroke.

“Anything that needed to be done, she would do it,” Howard said. “And she wanted to make sure it was done right.”

Connors and her husband enjoyed getting out of the house and exploring Raleigh’s dining scene. They had tickets to the next Black Panther movie coming out in November and were planning 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 dead, Howard said.

“Her friend was sort of in the driveway like she was going home or on her way home, and my wife was on the porch,” Howard said.

Howard has to wonder what motivated the shooting.

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

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

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

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

SUSAN KARNATZ

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

Karnatz, 49, was an avid runner who visited the greenway where some of the shootings took place. She had completed 5.1 miles of her scheduled 7-mile greenway run the night of her death.

Two cars parked in the driveway had matching 26.2 stickers – marking the mileage of a marathon. A minivan license plate read “RUNNR.”

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

“We had common plans for great adventures,” he wrote. “And plan the mundane days in between together. We had plans together with the boys. And we had common plans as empty nests. We had common plans to grow old. … Now those plans are being shattered.”

According to an obituary, Karnatz had completed the Boston marathon four times. She was a school psychologist before homeschooling her three sons, which “brought her joy, meaning, and fulfillment.”

“She was funny, often tickled with quirky humor, and when she got going she would laugh until she cried,” the obituary reads. “She listened without judgement, gave wise advice when asked, and offered kind words and gentle reassurance to those around her. Her absence is deeply touched by the hearts of friends and family.”

MARY MARSHALL

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

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

“She has a boyfriend who’s from Japan, someone who’s from Florida, from Texas,” McCrickard said. “As excited as she was to be married, I know she was more looking forward to having all the people she loved most in the same place at the same time.”

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

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

In another interview with NBC, Marshall’s fiancée recalled what she said on the phone: “You have to come home right now — right now. Scruff (our dog) slipped his collar and I just heard gunshots.”

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

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

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

“She loved going to the beach and she was a total Disney World fan,” Donna Marshall told the newspaper.

Scruff effectively chose 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 mother and father, her sister and her close family,” said Donna Marshall. “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 area, police said. Raleigh Police Chief Estella D. Patterson said Torres was not in uniform or in his squad 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 US Marine at Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville.

After being shot Thursday, Torres spent his final moments “surrounded by his wife, daughter, neighbors, brothers and sisters in blue, and other responders from the great city of Raleigh,” according to his obituary.

Torres was raised in Jackson, New Jersey, and joined the Marines at the age of 24, the obituary states. At 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 was helping his wife make dinner, running errands, raising his daughter, loving his dog Benji, watching movies and playing his video games,” his obituary reads. “He was a die-hard New York Knicks and New York Jets fan, no matter what the taunts that went with it. Because of his size, he was often used by his wife, who could not reach many things.”

Back the Blue NC, a nonprofit that advocates for law enforcement officials, started a fundraiser for the Torres family through GoFundMe. As of Wednesday morning, it had raised $106,000.

JAMES THOMPSON

Thompson, 16, particularly enjoyed deep-sea fishing, playing basketball for 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 reads.

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

“It’s an unexpected loss and we’re saddened by it,” Richardson said. “Our condolences, thoughts and prayers go out to James’ family, the other victims, their families and everyone affected.”

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

“There has never been any indication or warning sign that Austin was capable of doing anything like this,” the statement said.

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

The school board chairman and superintendent of the Wake County Public School System issued a statement saying they were “shocked, saddened and heartbroken.”

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

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Finley reported from Norfolk, Virginia.

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Associated Press contributor Rhonda Shafner contributed to this report.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, transcribed or redistributed without permission.

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