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Judge rules that Raleigh mass shooting suspect will be tried as an adult

Police cruiser in Raleigh neighborhood
Matt Ramey
Police presence in the morning following the Oct. 13, 2022, mass shooting in a northeast Raleigh neighborhood. A Wake County Superior Court judge has ruled that the teenage shooting suspect will be tried as an adult.

A Wake County Superior Court judge has ruled that the teenager suspected of killing five people in a mass shooting in Raleigh last year should be tried as an adult.

Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman's office made the announcement following suspect Austin Thompson's hearing in court Wednesday morning. Thompson, who was 15 at the time of the shooting, allegedly murdered five people, including his older brother, in the Hedingham neighborhood in northeast Raleigh. He was also indicted for attempted murder and assault of two others who were injured at the shooting.

The Raleigh Police Department has also cited the suspect's father, Alan Thompson, with one count of storing a firearm in a manner that's accessible to a minor.

Austin Thompson is currently being held without bond. His next court date is Nov. 6.

North Carolina criminal justice law considers a juvenile a person who is between the ages of 10 and 17, and is subject to a different sentencing scheme than adults. However, state law allows courts to transfer felony cases involving 13-to-17-year-old suspects to superior court on a prosecutor's motion. When there is an allegation of first-degree murder where probable cause has been established, anyone 13 or older must be treated as adults in superior court upon motion by the prosecutor.

According to the FBI, the number of active shooter incidents decreased by 18% last year compared to 2021.

WUNC's Eli Chen and Rusty Jacobs contributed to this story.

Sharryse Piggott is WUNC’s PM Reporter.