'Peace and comfort': First victim of Raleigh mass shooting laid to rest

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Friday, October 21, 2022
First victim of Raleigh mass shooting laid to rest
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Friends and family come together for 'Celebration of Life' of the youngest victim of mass shooting in Raleigh.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Trinity Baptist Church was full Thursday evening. Hugs were shared and tears shed as family and friends said their last goodbyes to 16-year-old James Thompson.

Thompson was killed in the Hedingham Community one week ago.

"This service, this evening, also highlighted the fact that there is hope that James had a hope, that hope of eternal life. And that message gives, I hope, the family peace and comfort," Elizabeth Burgess said after attending Thompson's Celebration of Life Service.

Burgess is a chaplain with the Billy Graham, Evangelical Association's Rapid Response Team. She has been on the ground since the shooting happened praying and supporting all victims, including the family of James Thompson, who his parents said was killed by his younger brother Austin Thompson.

"We're searching for an answer for hope. The answer to the why this happened. No one has the answer for that," Burgess continued.

The answers didn't come in a new report from Raleigh Police either. The motive remains unclear, but ABC11 learned new details surrounding the 16-year old's death.

James Thompson was the first victim in the shooting rampage. According to police he was shot and stabbed.

"I think there's a lot of shock in the air," said Raleigh Police Chief Estella Patterson. "I realized that the community is hurting. Our police departments hurting. It's just an opportunity for me to one pay my respects, at this memorial."

The chief said the community still mourns , but Raleigh will push forward.

" This is going to make us stronger 100%. It's just the power of people coming together, the power of prayer, all that combined is going to make us a stronger community. We are still Raleigh, strong," Patterson said.