Vigils held as Raleigh shooting shatters quiet neighborhood's peace
Community members in Raleigh held vigils over the weekend after last Thursday’s shooting that left five people dead and two injured.
One woman — 59-year-old Marcille Lynn Gardner — remains in critical condition, as does the 15-year-old male suspect.
The people who were shot and killed are Nicole Conners, 52; Mary Marshall, 34; Susan Karnatz, 49; James Roger Thompson, 16; and 29-year-old Gabriel Torres, a Raleigh police officer. Connors’ dog Sami was also found dead.
“It’s close to home,” said Joshua Phillips, who would often join Connors on walks with his pit-bull, Buddy.
Hedingham is much like most American neighborhoods. You may not know the name of every person on your block, but people greet each other across driveways and can always find something to chat about.
But Phillips said Thursday’s slaughter was a “wake-up call.”
“Letting you know how real it is, where everything’s at right now. And, I mean, you can’t let your guard down, that’s for sure,” Phillips said Friday, as police finished processing two crime scenes just around the corner. “I mean, now you walk with a bit of caution. You don’t know what’s going on, who’s into what.”
Volunteers passed out free meals across the street from the golf club entrance Friday evening while counselors and a golden retriever in a blue therapy dog vest greeted the grieving community.
Folks in the northeast Raleigh community had planned a fall festival, but gathered late Saturday afternoon instead for a vigil to remember those lost. A memorial adorned with flowers displayed photos of the five who were killed. Their names and the names of two others who were wounded were read aloud. The crowd prayed for healing, lit candles and a group from a nearby church sang “Amazing Grace.”
Allison and Braden Greenawalt moved to Hedingham in 2019.
The couple’s townhouse is just a few doors down from the home of Raleigh police Officer Gabriel Torres, one of those killed. As officers gathered evidence from Torres’ bullet-riddled car, Allison Greenawalt checked a community Facebook group for updates.
“It’s been a very warm community for people who support each other,” she said. “We are a group of people who care about each other and stick together.”
Pastor Dan Rothra led a vigil Sunday night at First Alliance Church, near the Hedingham neighborhood where the shooting took place.
“I'm not well-scripted here.” Rothra said. “We love our neighbors. We care about our neighborhoods. And we think this is a tragedy.”
Thousands of dollars have been donated to GoFundMe pages to help victims' families pay for medical and funeral expenses.
The Raleigh Police Department has created a memorial at its downtown headquarters for Officer Gabriel Torres, one of the victims.
Police are expected to release what's called a five-day report on the shooting later this week. It will give more details about how the shooting unfolded in the Hedingham neighborhood and on the Neuse River greenway trail.
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