Suspect, 15, in custody over latest US mass shooting
The gunman believed to have killed five people in North Carolina in America’s latest mass shooting is a 15-year-old boy, in critical condition after being shot by police, officials said Friday.
Two more people were wounded in the Thursday night shooting, the motive of which remains under investigation, Raleigh police chief Estella Patterson told a news conference in the state capital.
She said the fatalities included a 29-year-old off-duty police officer who was on his way to work. The four other victims were a 16-year-old boy and three women aged 35, 49, and 52.
A 59-year-old woman also remained hospitalized in critical condition.
“The nightmare of every community has come to Raleigh,” Governor Roy Cooper added at the same news conference.
“This is a senseless, horrific, and infuriating act of violence.”
The shooter, who was identified only as a white male, opened fire in the state capital Raleigh on and near a popular walking trail called the Neuse River Greenway.
Patterson and other officials gave few details of how the mass shooting unfolded.
After an hours-long standoff in a house, the boy suspect was shot and taken into custody, and is now in hospital in critical condition, police said.
“My heart is heavy because we don’t have answers as to why this tragedy occurred,” Patterson said.
Gun violence is an urgently pressing problem in the United States, where more than 34,000 people have been killed by firearms so far in 2022 alone, more than half of them from suicide, according to the Gun Violence Archive website.
The North Carolina shooting occurred after a jury earlier in the day rejected the death penalty and backed life imprisonment for Nikolas Cruz, who shot and killed 17 people at a Florida high school in 2018.
Mass shootings have repeatedly stunned the nation, reigniting debate on the divisive issue of gun control — but there has been little headway in Congress.
However, several of the most recent gun rampages, including a shooting at a school in Texas and a supermarket frequented by African Americans in New York state, caused particular shock across the country, prompting lawmakers to agree in June, for the first time in 30 years, to pass modest reform of gun control laws.
Nearly 400 million guns were in circulation among the civilian population in the United States in 2017, or 120 guns for every 100 people, according to the Small Arms Survey project.