One Year Later: City of Raleigh remembers victims and survivors of Raleigh mass shooting

Saturday, October 14, 2023
City of Raleigh remembers victims, survivors of Raleigh mass shooting
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A somber event hosted by the City of Raleigh marked one year since the deadly mass shooting in the Hedingham neighborhood.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The City of Raleigh held a ceremony Friday afternoon at the Raleigh Municipal building to mark one year since the mass shooting that took the lives of five people in the Hedingham neighborhood.

It was a somber event punctuated by a quiet ceremony led by the Raleigh Fire Department Chaplain and the police department's interfaith team of community leaders.

Speakers at the event stood next to a wreath of flowers and shared their thoughts and reactions with onlookers.

"There's a quote that says people are like tea bags. If you want to find out what's inside of them, put them in hot water. I believe that night we were placed in hot water, and we learned something about what's inside of us. What's inside of us is empathy, is teamwork, is resilience," Rev. Dr. Jeremy Gilmore said.

A somber event hosted by the City of Raleigh marked one year since the deadly mass shooting in the Hedingham neighborhood.

"I saw a city come together. I saw a community come together. I saw neighbors loving neighbors. I saw brothers and sisters of all walks and life come together," added Raleigh Fire Department Chaplain Jeff Neal.

Kathleen Nilsson, the President of the Hedingham Homeowners Association spoke to ABC11 about how things are going in the neighborhood a year after the deadly shooting.

"In general, the neighborhood is feeling a little stressed and a little tense, and we're all just kind of trying to cope," she said. "Personally, I have a hard time going to a place that I used to go a lot more often, and that is the Greenway. Just knowing the horrible things that happened over there and it's just hard when I cross that bridge across the Neuse River. I can not think about that day."

The neighborhood will host its own private candlelight vigil tonight. Then on Saturday, there will be an event to honor the first responders at 10 a.m. at Nash Square.

Prosecutors said Austin Thompson, 16, will be tried as an adult in the massacre with five counts of murder for the deaths of James Thompson (his brother), Officer Gabriel Torres, Mary Marshall, Nicole Connors and Susan Karnartz.

Tracey Howard is the widower of Nicole Connors. He said this has been both the fastest and slowest year of his life.

Rob Steele, who is the fiance of Mary Marshall, said he has been comforted by all the people who have reached out to him and provided assistance over the last 365 days.

Three other people were wounded in the shooting.

The event on the evening of Oct. 13, 2022, sent the entire neighborhood into a panic. It lasted for hours and only ended after a late-night standoff and shootout with officers.

Friday night, members of the Hedingham community came together for a private vigil to grieve and remember the victims.

"Every day is a great day for me because it's my choice," said survivor Lynn Gardner.

A choice that didn't come easy for Gardner. She said she is taking things day by day after she was hospitalized after being shot in her own neighborhood.

"I still have bullet fragments in my body from the shooting and I had one protruding and it was causing pain," Gardner said.

She still has issues with her hearing and needs a support dog. Gardner attended the vigil with her friend Angel Turner remembering the five who didn't make it, including their friend Nicole Connors.

"Grief separates people at times and it also brings us together in the oddest places," Turner said.

Out of that grief forges a bond of neighbors, sometimes complete strangers who became a Hedingham family.

"Do the right thing because it's the right thing to do. Treat your classmates like you want to be treated that's real for me and I receive that love because I give that love," Gardner said.

SEE ALSO | Hedingham mass shooting video released by Raleigh Police shows capture of suspect Austin Thompson

Raleigh Police Department released bodycam footage of the shootout and standoff that resulted in the capture of the teen accused of carrying out the deadly Hedingham mass shooting.

Those who want to send a message to the families of the tragedy, the city has set up a P.O box for cards.

That address is:
Raleigh Healing Together
P.O. Box 590, Raleigh, N.C.