'We heard them screaming': Witnesses recall chilling moment when Raleigh gunman went on shooting spree

'We heard them screaming': Witnesses recall chilling moment when Raleigh gunman went on shooting spree
Raleigh shooting suspect Austin Thompson (R) with victim James Thompson (L) (WRAL/YouTube screenshot)

Warning: This article contains a recollection of crime and can be triggering to some, readers' discretion advised.

RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA: Recalling the deadly shooting spree by 15-year-old Austin Thompson, who is accused of fatally killing five people, including his elder brother James Thompson, witnesses shared the details of what happened on October 13. One of them said, “We heard the shots, and we heard them screaming.”

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Austin began firing at around 5 pm on October 13 in the Hedingham neighborhood near Osprey Cove Drive and Bay Harbor Drive. As per ABC, the suspect first shot his brother inside their home. Then he went outside and shot three women, Mary Marshall, 34, Susan Karnatz, 49, and Nicole Connors, 52, in the streets of the neighborhood before running toward the Neuse River Greenway Trail. And before getting to the trail, he shot off-duty police officer Gabriel Torres, 29, who was on his way to start his shift. 

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According to The News&Observer, neighbor Jesse Parrish described how Mary was chasing her dog Scruff through their Hedingham neighborhood and was heading toward the Neuse River Greenway Trail. I saw Mary run down the hill toward the greenway after her dog. I didn’t see her come back up.”

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At 5.21 am, a man called up 911 and informed the operator that he found an unconscious woman along the trail as he was riding his bike. Sharing the details of the call, the operator narrated what the man said, “Oh my God. She’s bleeding.” The operator asked, “And it’s just one person?” The man replied, “Yes ma’am, and her little dog.” His call was one of more than 20 made to 911 from the Hedingham neighborhood on the day of the incident. The Raleigh Police Department released the calls — with names redacted and voices distorted, states The News&Observer.

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The first call came at 5.12 pm from a man on Osprey Cove Drive who said that “his buddy was shot.” The second call came from a Capitol Security employee about Torres just four minutes later. The employee was on call when she realized he was an officer. She said to someoone nearby, "He’s an off-duty cop?! This is bad.” Another called said, “I just got home. I got home when I see a neighbor got shot, they got shot.” An individual described, “There’s two people. There’s somebody laying by the bush, and there’s somebody laying on the porch.” And one more told, "We heard the shots, and we heard them screaming. And so we got down because we heard it was a gun. And when it stopped we got up and looked out our window."

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One of the callers shared the details of the suspect and said the person was “wearing all camo” and carrying a backpack when proceeded towards the Neuse River Greenway Trail, behind the houses on Osprey Cove Drive. The caller informed, “He looks like he’s like 15." While one told, “He had to be between 13 and 16 max. He was a child. You just don’t imagine things like that. You hear about school shootings and stuff, but to really see something like that in your neighborhood is just …" "He looked like a baby. I just don't even have the words to explain. This is not OK,” one of them said.

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At present, Austin is hospitalized in critical condition at WakeMed, where he was taken after being arrested by police at around 9.40 pm on October 13.

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