Wounds from Hedingham mass shooting remain one year after 5 killed: 'Less than 10 minutes later'

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Sunday, October 15, 2023
Wounds from Hedingham mass shooting remain one year after 5 killed
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Mary Marshall, Nicole Conners, Susan Karnartz, Officer Gabriel Torres and James Thompson were all killed on October 13, 2022.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Rob Steele says October 13th, 2022 was just another day at work when his phone rang. His fiancee, Mary Marshall, had heard gunshots near their home in the Hedingham neighborhood of Raleigh as she tried to retrieve their loose dog on the Neuse River Greenway.

"Less than 10 minutes later, I just got a really bad feeling that you know, something was really wrong. And I tried calling Mary again, and it rang through all the way to voicemail. I tried again and then again and, same thing," Steele said.

Mary was one of five people murdered that day, less than three weeks before she and Rob were set to marry. One year later, the wound remains, but Rob says the humanity he's been shown in the aftermath has helped save him.

"The people who had no idea who I was other than I lost somebody important to me, who cooked meals and dropped them off at my house, donated money, took the time to reach out to me on Facebook," he said.

It's been a month since Raleigh Police said a teen gunned down seven people, killing five in the Hedingham Community.

This past week, it was announced that 16-year-old Austin Thompson would be tried as an adult in the massacre. Five counts of murder headline a slate a felony charges, including two counts of attempted murder and two counts of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill.

Thompson remains locked up without bond.

Wake County's lead prosecutor says that fateful Thursday served as a wake-up call.

"I think we all had hoped that Raleigh would be immune," said DA Lorrin Freeman. "And I think what we learned on that day is that none of us are, you know, safe or immune from the possibility of there being a mass shooting in our community."

Freeman says it also serves as a cautionary tale about the dangers of leaving a gun in the open. Thompson's father, Alan, faces a misdemeanor gun charge, accused of storing the murder weapon in a location Austin was allegedly able to access.

"The safe storage of guns, making sure that minors don't have access to firearms is, you know, a critical issue," said Freeman. "And it's one that I hope the legislature will pay attention to and do something about."

That won't bring back the people lost last October 13th, but Rob says Mary's memory still burns bright.

"I talk to her almost every day. It felt silly at first to be sitting in a chair on the back patio with a fire burning and, you know, just look up at the sky and talk to her. But I just, I continued. And it doesn't feel silly anymore," he said.