North Carolina’s capital city of Raleigh was shaken during the evening of Oct. 13, when a 15-year-old shooter killed five people and injured two others in a neighborhood on the east side of town.
One of the victims was off-duty Raleigh Police Department officer Gabriel Torres. Another was an unidentified 16-year-old male. Another RPD active-duty officer, Casey Clark, was injured but released from the hospital.
The event unfolded over several hours, beginning around 5:13 p.m. with reports of a person shot near the 6000 block of Osprey Cove Drive in the Raleigh neighborhood of Hedingham. Residents in the area were instructed to remain in their homes during the manhunt for the shooter that involved local police, sheriff’s deputies, and state troopers.
The suspect was apprehended around 9:45 p.m. He is currently being treated at the hospital with serious injuries.
During a press conference the morning of Oct. 14, police were able to share few details as the investigation is on-going.
“My heart is heavy because we don’t have answers as to why this tragedy occurred,” said Raleigh Police Chief Estella Patterson. “What I can tell you is that the Raleigh Police Department and the Raleigh community is resilient and we stand strong and we will heal. We will be stronger as a result of what has occurred. Gun violence prevention and violent crime reduction has been a priority for me.”
Gov. Roy Cooper and Raleigh Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin, both Democrats, tilted their response to focus on gun control.
Baldwin addressed the media during a press conference around 9 p.m. on Oct. 13, while the suspect was still at large. Visibly shaken, Baldwin said, “We must do more. We must stop this mindless violence in America. We must address gun violence.”
“We’re standing with you in this moment of unspeakable agony,” Cooper said during a press conference Friday morning. “No one should feel this fear in their communities. No one. As policy makers we cannot, and we will not, turn away from what has happened here. We must be resolved to make changes and to succeed.”
Other elected officials chose to focus on the victims, their families, and the police.
“Pray for the families of the victims of the tragic shooting in Raleigh,” tweeted Senate leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham. “I want to thank our local and state law enforcement for their swift action to keep us safe even as they mourn the loss of one of their own.”
The two candidates running for the open U.S. Senate seat in N.C. tweeted out condolences for the families and support for the police.
“Please join me in prayer for the victims of this senseless act of violence,” said U.S. Rep. Ted Budd, a Republican currently representing the state’s 13th Congressional District.
“I’m praying for the people injured and killed and their families after tonight’s shooting in Raleigh,” said Democrat Cheri Beasley, former N.C. Supreme chief justice. “Thank you to the law enforcement and first responders working to keep us safe.”
“I’m sick to my stomach,” tweeted N.C. Secretary of State Elaine Marshall, a Democrat. “My prayers go out to the police and emergency responders and to the families of the victims.”
In an interview with the News and Observer in July, Chief Patterson pointed to the complex issues contributing to the rise in violence across the country.
“I think people are on edge coming out of a pandemic,” she said. “I think we have mental health issues that are also contributing to that. I also believe [it’s] what we’re facing as a nation: the war in Ukraine, inflation, gas prices. All those things coupled together, I think results in people wanting to solve their disputes or their issues with gun violence rather than just maybe taking a pause, stepping back, and then re-approaching the situation.”
Carolina Journal reporter Theresa Opeka contributed reporting to this story.