RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — The suspected gunman in Raleigh’s mass shooting last October will be tried as an adult, the Wake County District Attorney’s Office announced Wednesday.
The decision was made during a hearing Wednesday morning in Wake County Superior Court.
The case has now been transferred to Superior Court, where mass shooting suspect Austin Thompson will face his charges as an adult.
Thompson is accused of killing five people and injuring two others in the Oct. 13, 2022 mass shooting in Raleigh’s Hedingham neighborhood.
The Grand Jury of Wake County previously returned indictments against Thompson for five counts of murder in the deaths of Gabriel Torres, James Roger Thompson, Mary Elizabeth Marshall, Nicole Connors and Susan Karnartz.
The Wake County District Attorney’s Office said Thompson was also indicted for attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill and inflicting serious injury for injuring Marcille Lynn Gardner.
For the injuries sustained by Raleigh police officer C. Clark, Thompson was also indicted for attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill and inflicting serious injury, and assault with a firearm on a law enforcement officer.
These indictments are now public after Wednesday morning’s hearing the ruling by the judge.
Thompson is currently being held without bond.
Austin Thompson’s father, Alan Thompson, is now charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor, the district attorney’s office said Wednesday.
District Attorney Lorrin Freeman authorized the Raleigh Police Department to cite him with one count of storing a firearm in a manner accessible to a minor, which violates North Carolina General Statute 14-315.1.
“That is all that is available under our state law to address a situation where an individual leaves access to firearms, to a minor who’s unsupervised,” Freeman explained.
Hearing from the victims
Robert Steele, whose fiancé Mary Marshall was killing in the mass shooting, has been waiting for the day that Austin Thompson would be charged and tried as an adult.
“It’s good news, but I’m not even really sure how I feel at the moment. It’s a lot,” he said.
Steele hopes Thompson is convicted and gets maximum sentences.
“Five consecutive life sentences for murder,” he explained. “It’s the best anybody can ask for.”
He told CBS 17 now that the case has moved to adult court, he intends to keep up with the proceedings.
As for the Class 1 misdemeanor charge against Austin’s father Alan Thompson, Steele does not believe that’s enough.
“You should be charged in accessory to that crime, not just with a improperly storing a firearm misdemeanor,” he said. “That’s a slap on the wrist.”
Steele said he wants to be at some of Austin Thompson’s hearings, especially the sentencing.
Just hours before Wednesday’s court appearance, CBS 17 crews sat down with Lynn Gardner, one of the victims.
This is all she wanted to say about the teen:
“When I forgave Austin, I forgave Austin, because I wanted to protect my heart. When I say I love, I love. And I love Austin,” Gardner said.
What comes next?
Freeman said her office will not be seeking the death penalty against Austin Thompson, as he was underage at the time of the crime.
Nine days before the year anniversary of the mass shooting, she knows this will be a difficult time for the community.
“Our hope is that at some point this is able to bring them some closure and that they do have a sense that, you know, we fought for them and that we attempted to seek justice on behalf of their loved ones,” she said. “We’re going to stay focused, try and keep our eye on the ball, make sure that we are doing everything we need to do to bring justice to these victims. But this is a long process.”
The pending cases against Austin Thompson will next be set on the Nov. 6 Superior Court Motions and Arraignment calendar.
Alan Thompson is set to be in court Nov. 15.