A teenage gunman opened fire in Raleigh, North Carolina, killing five people, including an off-duty police officer.
Witnesses told WRAL they saw the gunman, wearing camouflage clothing with a backpack and black boots, crouching down and said he was “between the ages of 13 and 16.”
Raleigh police said at 9:40 p.m. that the suspect was in custody.
About an hour earlier, Mary-Anne Baldwin, the mayor of Raleigh, said the suspect was “being contained,” but police did not say whether they could contact him.
His condition was unclear.
WRAL broadcast footage from the scene showing an off-duty police officer’s car riddled with bullets.
A second officer, a canine officer, was shot and wounded.
WRAL reported that four people were taken to WakeMed Hospital in what was described as “very serious condition.”
They said the suspect was a white male teenager armed with a long handgun.
Baldwin said it’s a “sad and tragic day for the city of Raleigh.”
Mary-Anne Baldwin, the mayor of Raleigh, said the suspected gunman was “contained.”
A white trooper’s car is seen in footage broadcast by WRAL News in Raleigh
Law enforcement officers are seen at the entrance to the Neuse River Greenway Trail parking lot on Abington Lane in east Raleigh
Officers are filming the scene as the standoff continues
Residents in east Raleigh were ordered to stay indoors amid reports of active shooting
The mayor, visibly shaken, continued, “It’s a tragic day because the Raleigh police force has lost one of its own.”
She said more needs to be done to combat gun violence.
“We must stop this mindless violence in America. We have to fight gun violence,” she said.
“We have things to do, and tonight we have things to mourn.”
ABC 11 reported that a confrontation ensued and the suspect barricaded himself in the barn.
A drone was sent to the barn to try to negotiate with the suspect, but the drone malfunctioned, the station said.
The first reports of shooting started coming in just before 6:00 p.m. local time.
“The Raleigh Police Department is currently on the scene of an active shooting in the area of the Neuse River Greenway near Osprey Cove Drive and Bay Harbor Drive,” police tweeted.
“Residents of this area are advised to stay in their homes.”
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper tweeted: “I have spoken with Mayor Baldwin and directed state law enforcement to assist in response to the active shooter in East Raleigh.
“State and local officers are on the scene and working to stop the shooter and keep people safe. – RC’
Deborah Ross, a member of Congress whose district includes Raleigh, tweeted: “My office and I are actively monitoring this situation. Please avoid these areas, stay indoors and follow the directions of @RaleighPolice.’
Police and firefighters are pictured near the scene in east Raleigh
Police are seen directing traffic away from the scene of Thursday’s shooting
There was some confusion as to whether the suspect was in custody.
By 20:00, the local TV channel reported that the attacker had been detained. His condition is unknown, but WRAL confirmed he is alive.
By 20:15, the roads in the neighborhood were restored.
However, at 8:27 p.m., Raleigh police tweeted: “The investigation is ongoing. At the moment, the suspects are not in custody. Residents of the affected area are advised to stay in their homes until further notice.”
The mayor confirmed that he was “detained” but did not say that he was taken into custody.
Then, at 9:40 p.m., Raleigh police said he was in custody.
Raleigh has seen a spike in gun violence this year, an upward trend that has only worsened over the past few years, the News Observer reports.
Raleigh police said in July that more people were killed in 2022 than at the same time in 2021.
In turn, Raleigh saw a significant increase in gun violence in 2021 compared to 2020.
In addition to the 28 fatal shootings, another 131 people were shot and survived, compared to 105 non-fatal shootings in 2020 and 99 in 2019.
Last year, 499 attacks with firearms were also registered.
Estella Patterson, Raleigh’s police chief, said gun violence in Raleigh mirrors trends across the country.
“I think people are on the verge of coming out of the pandemic,” she said.
“I think we have mental health issues that contribute to that as well. I also believe in what we are facing as a nation: the war in Ukraine, inflation, gas prices.
“I think all of these things add up to people wanting to resolve their disputes or issues with gun violence, rather than just pausing, stepping back, and then re-approaching the situation.”