Teen suspect in deadly Raleigh shooting could be tried as an adult, officials say

A juvenile petition was filed against the suspect in Thursday’s deadly shooting.
The Wake County District Attorney has filed a juvenile petition against the suspected Raleigh shooter.
Published: Oct. 14, 2022 at 6:47 PM EDT

RALEIGH, N.C. (WBTV) - The juvenile suspect in Thursday’s deadly shooting in Raleigh may not be 18 years old, but he could still be tried as an adult.

According to CBS affiliate WNCN, the Wake County District Attorney, Lorrin Freeman, filed a juvenile petition against the 15-year-old suspect Friday, so he can be tried as an adult.

Five people, including a Raleigh Police Officer, were killed Thursday evening and two other people were shot after police say the suspect went on a shooting rampage near a popular Raleigh greenway on Thursday evening.

According to the Division of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, if a person is at least 13 years old and charged with first-degree murder, they can automatically be tried as an adult.

Authorities have released 911 calls stemming from the mass shooting in Raleigh on Thursday night.

“There are other charges that can be transferred to adult court as young as 14 years old, but first-degree murder is at age 13 and up,” said Deputy Secretary William Lassiter. “The others are discretionary, but first-degree murder is an automatic transfer to adult court.”

Police recovered a hang gun and a long gun after the shooting but have not shared how the suspect got his hands on the weapons.

Under North Carolina state law, you must be 18 years or older to buy and possess a long gun and 21 years or older for a handgun.

State data from the North Carolina Department of Public Safety showed an increase in the number of juvenile firearm offenses since 2019. According to NCDPS, prior to “Raise the Age” which was implemented in late 2019, firearm offenses made up 4% of all juvenile offenses. Officials report firearm offenses made up 13% of all juvenile offenses during the calendar year of 2021.

“We’ve seen firearm incidents grow from that four percent rate to about thirteen percent and we’ve seen that these kids are getting firearms from their own homes, their parents their family members, or they’re stealing them from vehicles,” Lassiter said.

Deputy Secretary William Lassiter and his teams are doing anti-violence campaigns and encouraging communities to use gun locks and keep weapons out of vehicles to stop teens from getting access to them.

“This incident once again re-emphasizes the point that young people can’t get their hands on guns,” Lassiter said. “Young people make rash impulsive decisions and we as adults need to protect them from getting their hands on weapons that can kill many people in a short amount of time.”

At the time of this writing, Raleigh Police have not announced the charges for the juvenile suspect.

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