'Unforgivable act': Husband of Raleigh mass shooting victim struggles with losing life partner

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Wednesday, October 19, 2022
Mass shooting victim's widower calls the crime 'unforgiveable'
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"Of course I'm upset. It was an unforgiveable act. I don't know if I'll ever be able to forgive him for it."

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- A portion of the Neuse River Greenway Trail reopened Monday for the first time since multiple people were murdered there Thursday.

Those victims were gunned down in a mass shooting at the hands of a 15-year-old, according to Raleigh Police Department.

The teen has not been officially identified, but ABC News can confirm he is a relative of one of the five people killed in the shooting.

The teen is also in "grave" condition at WakeMed according to a law enforcement official briefed on the investigation. How the teen was injured remains unclear. Police officers did open fire while trying to take him into custody, but we do not yet know if that's how the teen was injured.

More details on those questions are expected to be released on Oct. 20 when RPD files the 5-day report for the investigation.

SEE ALSO | What we know about those killed in the Hedingham mass shooting

Nicole Connors' husband, Tracey Howard, is just one of the people whose lives shattered in this senseless violence.

"I miss my wife. I didn't realize, you know...I didn't realize all the things she did," Howard said fighting back emotions. "That was my partner, my buddy, my companion, my wife, and I'm struggling man."

On Thursday, Howard is the person who found his wife's lifeless body lying next to their dog, who had also been killed. Bullet holes still pepper his garage door and mailbox, and evidence markers litter his property.

He's forced to live with those reminders of the tragic day, all while he is deprived of putting closure on his wife's life -- as Raleigh Police Department has not yet been able to release her body and allow him to plan her funeral.

With the shock of what he's lived through starting to subside, grief and frustration are settling in.

"Of course I'm upset," he said. "It was an unforgivable act. I don't know if I'll ever be able to forgive him for it."

In the meantime, a memorial of flowers, candles and other small objects continues to accumulate and grow at the Hedingham neighborhood entrance. The memorial also includes framed pictures of each of the victims.

Large crosses with each of the victims names can also be seen at the memorial. Roberto Marquez, an artist from Texas, created the crosses and drove them here himself. He is also painting a mural dedicated to the victims of the shooting.

"I feel that what is happening -- not only in our community, but our country -- (we) have the responsibility to do something about it, because it's happening so often," he said. "Even if was just one person in one place, we should worry and we should do something."

Raleigh Police identified the five victims who died in the shooting Friday morning :

  • Nicole Connors, 52
  • Susan Karnatz, 49
  • Mary Marshall, 35
  • Gabriel Torres, 29
  • James Thompson, 16

Detectives are continuing their effort to piece together a possible motive for the shooting, the official told ABC News. A search of the suspect's juvenile records has not revealed a criminal history, the official added.

Officers searched the suspect's home on Friday and so far have not found any social media footprint for the suspect, the official said, adding that investigators are going through handwritten material.

Support and calls for peace and healing continued to come from across the Triangle throughout the weekend.

The Hedingham community held a vigil Saturday to honor the lives lost in Thursday's shooting. People paid their respects by placing flowers at the community sign and joining in moments of silence.

Sunday afternoon members of the nonprofit Back the Blue NC and many others placed flowers on the hood of the patrol car in Torres's honor. The police SUV was draped with a black tarp and donned with black and blue ribbons.

ABC News' Meredith Ferrell, Elwyn Lopez, Josh Margolin, Emily Shapiro and Morgan Winsor contributed to this report.

RELATED: 'Our hearts are heavy': Hedingham mass shooting vigil unites community in grief