RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Police on Thursday released body camera video from a shootout with a 15-year-old boy suspected of fatally shooting five people and wounding two more in an East Raleigh neighborhood.
Officers spent several hours searching for the armed suspect, later identified by his parents as Austin Thompson, after the rampage seven weeks ago. The teen was ultimately located in a wooded area behind a residential property near the Neuse River Greenway, the walking path where he is alleged to have killed two of the victims.
The newly released video shows officers with police dogs surrounding one of two buildings behind the property with their guns drawn. Multiple shots ring out from the barnlike structure, striking one officer, and police return fire.
Raleigh Police Chief Estella Patterson petitioned Wake County Superior Court on Oct. 24 to release the images citing transparency grounds. Following a Nov. 9 hearing, the court authorized the release of three officers' body camera recordings from Oct. 13 and a compilation video with captions.
Among them was Officer Casey Clark, whose body camera video shows him being shot in the right knee as police surround the building, and then being dragged to safety behind another building. An officer applies a tourniquet, while another calls Emergency Medical Services.
“I am nauseous, but I am good,” says Clark, who was treated at a hospital and released later that night. “It feels like my kneecap, lower kneecap.”
The video released Thursday does not show police apprehending the suspect. The department's petition focused specifically on the manhunt and exchange of gunfire, police Lt. Jason Borneo told The Associated Press via email.
Borneo did not immediately respond to a question about whether video of the arrest exists, but he said the department does not release information that identifies a juvenile.
“Since this is a continuing investigation, recordings may contain information that is exempt from disclosure under state or federal law,” Borneo added.
Police surrounded the building for several hours due to concerns, based on a 911 call, that the teen might be in possession of multiple firearms and possibly hand grenades. The police report said officers repeatedly ordered him to surrender.
After about three hours, they approached the building and found the suspect lying on the ground wounded, the video description states. He appeared to have a single gunshot wound and had a handgun in his waistband, according to the police report. Authorities have not said whether he was shot by police or if the wound was self-inflicted.
A shotgun and shells were lying nearby, and police found a hunting knife in front of the building.
Officers secured the suspect in handcuffs, and EMS transported him to the hospital. He has since been released from WakeMed and moved to a juvenile detention facility.
Police allege that rampage began when the teen killed his 16-year-old brother and he then shot multiple neighbors, including an off-duty police officer who was on his way to work. The officer was the second fatality.
According to the police report, the suspect traveled nearly 2 miles (3.2 kilometers) from where the brother was found shot and stabbed.
Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman declined to comment Thursday about the suspect’s legal case, saying the matter remains in the juvenile court system. Freeman has said she will seek to charge the suspect as an adult.
A lawyer for the teen's family did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.
Associated Press writer Gary D. Robertson in Raleigh contributed to this report.
Hannah Schoenbaum is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.