Parents of accused North Carolina shooter express sorrow

Oct 18, 2022, 7:45 PM | Updated: Oct 19, 2022, 4:03 pm

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The parents of a 15-year-old boy accused of killing five people in a North Carolina shooting rampage released a statement saying they are “overcome with grief” and saw no warning signs before the killings.

The statement Tuesday by Alan and Elise Thompson also confirmed that one of Austin Thompson’s five victims on Thursday night was his own 16-year-old brother, James. Witnesses said in 911 calls that the shooter opened fire with what appeared to be a shotgun in a neighborhood northeast of downtown Raleigh and along an adjacent walking trail.

“Our son Austin inflicted immeasurable pain on the Raleigh community, and we are overcome with grief for the innocent lives lost,” the parents said.

They also said in their statement that they will fully cooperate with law enforcement to help investigators understand what happened, but that they have questions themselves. Authorities have not discussed a motive for the shootings.

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

Austin Thompson was hospitalized in critical condition following his arrest last Thursday night, hours after the shooting began. Elise Thompson said in a text message Wednesday that his condition had improved but that he remained in a pediatric ICU unit. She declined to comment further.

The Associated Press generally does not name people under 18 who are accused of crimes, but is identifying Austin Thompson because of the severity and publicity of the shootings and because his parents have voluntarily named him in their public statement.

The Wake County prosecutor has said she will pursue adult charges against the suspect. Authorities had previously identified the shooter as a 15-year-old boy but had not publicly released his name.

Investigators have not disclosed where Austin Thompson obtained the gun or guns used in the shooting. A lawyer for the parents didn’t immediately respond to an email Wednesday asking if the parents knew how he got the weaponry he used.

Callers who dialed 911 during the shooting rampage described encountering bodies on the streets or front yards of their neighborhood and along a trail popular with runners and bikers, according to recordings released by authorities. Witnesses said shooter was wearing camouflage and using a shotgun in the attacks that began shortly after 5 p.m.

The shooting drew officers from numerous agencies to the neighborhood as the suspect eluded capture for several hours. The victims, ranging in age from 16 to their late 50s and were felled going about their daily routines, police and loved ones said. Among those killed was an off-duty police officer. In addition to those killed, two others were wounded.

Several people acquainted with Austin Thompson before the shooting – including a neighbor, a classmate and a victim’s husband who lived nearby — told The AP that he was quiet but seemed friendly.

Tracey Howard, whose wife of five years Nicole Connors was among those killed, said that Austin Thompson and his brother lived two doors down. He said that he would talk college football with their father and that he would exchange waves with the two boys.

“I’d see them coming from school. `How you doing?'” he said on Friday, raising his arm to demonstrate. “They’d wave back. Sometimes they didn’t. But we never had any beef or problems with them.”

Another neighbor, Jennifer Magnuson, said that her three teenage children attended high school with the boys and rode the bus with them. She said her children described Austin and his brother as keeping to themselves.

“They said that they were just very quiet, very shy. Didn’t talk very much on the bus. And they were a little weird. Like, they just wouldn’t socialize, except with each other.”

She said her 16-year-old son tried to socialize with Austin and his brother, but the boys didn’t seem interested.

“My 16-year-old, he talked to them a couple of times, just to kind of see, to get a feel for them. But they, the boys just seemed like they just were not willing to be friends or just didn’t want to talk or anything like that,” she said. “So, my son’s like, `All right. Well, I tried.´ And just, yeah, went on.”

Omer Rosas, a sophomore at Knightdale High School who was in classes with Austin Thompson, said they talked frequently in class and described him as personable. He said he was shocked to find out Friday morning that his classmate had been arrested in connection with the shooting. He said that Austin Thompson liked to run and was considering joining the track team.

“I did not expect it to be him,” Rosas said in an interview outside the school Friday. “He was very calm. He wasn’t like a mean person. He was open to be nice to everyone.”

___

Associated Press writer Hannah Schoenbaum contributed to this report.

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

AP

Two men share a meal in a makeshift tent camp outside the Petit Chateau reception center in Brussel...
Associated Press

EU migration impasse leaves many refugees out in the cold

BRUSSELS (AP) — Some refugees and asylum-seekers in Brussels have been spending months in between the Street of Palaces and the Small Castle — quite literally. Unfortunately, it’s not a dream come true at the end of their fearful flight from halfway across the globe. It’s a perpetual nightmare. Petit Chateau, which means small castle, […]
4 hours ago
Items are displayed in the "Boutique" at the Insight Women's Center, where clients can find clothes...
Associated Press

US states take control of abortion debate with funding focus

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Though the Insight Women’s Center sits at the epicenter of a reinvigorated battle in the nation’s culture wars, the only hint of its faith-based mission to dissuade people from getting abortions is the jazzy, piano rendition of “Jesus Loves Me” playing in a waiting room. The Republican-controlled Kansas Legislature is considering […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

India’s G-20 energy meet to balance renewables, fossil fuels

BENGALURU, India (AP) — Over 500 energy industry heavyweights and 30,000 participants will descend on the southern Indian city of Bengaluru on Monday to discuss the future of renewables and fossil fuels at India Energy Week — the first big ticket event of the country’s presidency of the Group of 20 leading economies. Speakers, including […]
1 day ago
FILE - Mega Millions lottery tickets and a wager slip are displayed, Friday, Jan. 6, 2023, in Derry...
Arizona Sports

Drawing nears for $700M Powerball prize, 10th biggest in US

Another huge lottery jackpot will be on the line Saturday for players willing to put up $2 vs. daunting odds of actually winning the prize.
1 day ago
Chinese spy balloon flies above in Charlotte NC, United States on February 04, 2023. The Pentagon a...
Associated Press

US downs suspected Chinese spy balloon off the Carolina coast

The United States on Saturday downed a suspected Chinese spy balloon off the Carolina coast after it traversed sensitive military sites.
1 day ago
A man works at an avocado orchard in Santa Ana Zirosto, Michoacan state, Mexico, Thursday, Jan. 26,...
Associated Press

Route to Super Bowl dangerous for Mexico’s avocado haulers

SANTA ANA ZIROSTO, Mexico (AP) — It is a long and sometimes dangerous journey for truckers transporting the avocados destined for guacamole on tables and tailgates in the United States during the Super Bowl. It starts in villages like Santa Ana Zirosto, high in the misty, pine-clad mountains of the western Mexico state of Michoacan. […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Company looking for oldest air conditioner and wants to reward homeowner with new one

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.
...
Fiesta Bowl Foundation

Celebrate 50 years of Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade magic!

Since its first production in the early 1970s, the Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe has been a staple of Valley traditions, bringing family fun and excitement to downtown Phoenix.
...
Quantum Fiber

Stream 4K and more with powerful, high-speed fiber internet

Picking which streaming services to subscribe to are difficult choices, and there is no room for internet that cannot handle increased demands.
Parents of accused North Carolina shooter express sorrow