15-year-old taken into custody after North Carolina shooting that left five dead

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North Carolina (NBC News) — A 15-year-old suspect was taken into custody after a “long standoff” with police in connection with a shooting that killed five people and left two others injured Thursday evening in Raleigh, North Carolina, officials said.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper called the shooting spree, “the nightmare of every community.”

The shooting unfolded in a neighborhood northeast of central Raleigh and prompted warnings for residents to stay inside. One of the fatally wounded was an off-duty police officer, Mayor Mary-Anne Baldwin said.

In a news conference Friday morning, Raleigh police chief Estella D. Patterson said the suspect was taken into custody after an effort by a coalition of local safety agencies, and he is in critical condition.

He was not identified. No information regarding a motive or the suspect’s background were shared as the investigation is ongoing.

Patterson said the victims who were killed ranged in age from 16 to 52.

They were identified as: Nicole Connors, 52, Susan Karnatz, 49, Mary Marshall, 35, off-duty Raleigh police officer Gabriel Torres who was on his way to work, 29, and a 16-year-old white male. NBC affiliate WRAL of Raleigh reported the teen victim was James Roger Thompson. 

In addition to the deceased, two people were injured in the shooting: Raleigh Police Officer Casey Clark, 33, who was treated and since released from the hospital, and Marcille Gardner, 59, who remains in critical condition.

“Tonight terror has reached our doorstep,” Cooper told reporters Thursday evening. “The nightmare of every community has come to Raleigh. This is a senseless, horrific and infuriating act of violence that has been committed.”

Baldwin said: “We have to end this mindless gun violence that is happening across our country. There are too many victims. We have to wake up.”

Patterson said Friday morning the crime scene was “expansive” and stretched over two miles. 

Police responded to a call about a person shot shortly after 5 p.m. in the 6000 block of Osprey Cove Drive. Patterson said the shootings unfolded in the streets of the neighborhood, then the suspect fled towards the Neuse River Greenway, where more victims were shot.

The police department advised residents in the leafy neighborhood known as Hedingham to remain indoors. Aerial video from NBC affiliate WRAL showed a large police presence.

A witness named Robert Anderson told NBC’s “TODAY” that he saw the gunman from his back deck. 

“He had a camouflage shirt, camouflage pants, black boots, he also had a backpack that looked like it was filled to the brim,” he said in an interview aired Friday.

“He was walking, and when I tell you he was walking, it was like nothing had happened,” Anderson explained. “He was just walking looking straight forward, he had his gun on his side and it was pointed downwards and he was just walking.”

Another witness who spotted the apparent gunman told WRAL that she saw neighbors trying to help the off-duty officer, who was inside a car bleeding.

The witness told the station that she saw the gunman run from the scene and disappear into a nearby park. He was wearing black boots and appeared to be a teenager, she said.

“He looked like a baby,” she told WRAL, adding: “I just don’t even have the words to explain. This is not OK.”