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CAPE FEAR MEMORIAL BRIDGE CLOSURE: UPDATES, RESOURCES, AND CONTEXT

'She was loving and happy': Relatives, public officials remember shooting victims

Rob Steele, the fiancé of shooting victim Mary Marshall, spoke at a public vigil on Sunday, October 23, 2022 in downtown Raleigh.
Matt Ramey
/
For WUNC
Rob Steele, the fiancé of shooting victim Mary Marshall, spoke at a public vigil on Sunday, October 23, 2022 in downtown Raleigh.

The city of Raleigh held a public memorial Sunday afternoon to honor the victims of a mass shooting on Oct. 13 that left five dead and two injured.

More than one hundred people gathered in front of the downtown Raleigh Memorial Auditorium.

Robert Steele was the fiancé of Mary Marshall, one of the victims of the shooting. The couple was supposed to get married later this month.

Mary was a beautiful woman. Her presence... lit up every room she walked into. She was loud and stubborn, especially when she was right - which she was most of the time.
Rob Steele

"Mary was a beautiful woman," Steele said. "Her presence... lit up every room she walked into. She was loud and stubborn, especially when she was right - which she was most of the time."

Marshall, 34, was a Navy veteran who was walking her dog when she was killed.

Steele explained that Marshall had "high standards" for the people who she let into her close friend circle.

"From the things that I've heard about Nicole Connors... Officer Torres and Susan Karnatz, they are the kind of people that would have been in her circle," Steele said.

Along with Marshall, the other four victims who died were Nicole Connors, 52, Susan Karnatz, 49, Raleigh Police Officer Gabriel Torres, 29, and James Thompson, 16.

The suspected shooter was identified by his parents as Austin Thompson, 15, the brother of James. He remains in critical condition, as does victim Marcille Gardner, 59.

Matt Ramey
/
For WUNC
Public officials gathered in downtown Raleigh on Sunday, October 23, 2022 to honor the five victims of a mass shooting in Raleigh earlier this month.

Several local, state and federal officials attended Sunday's event, including Governor Roy Cooper, Raleigh Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin, and Congresswoman Deborah Ross.

Cooper called on the Republican-led North Carolina General Assembly to pass tighter gun measures.

"We need the wisdom to find solutions, the determination to see them through and the courage to stand up to the powerful forces that resist common sense change," Cooper said. "Doing nothing is unacceptable."

Cooper said some "common sense" changes include passing red flag laws, banning assault weapons, investing more in mental health and expanding Medicaid.

"This is a public health problem too," Cooper said passionately.

The city of Raleigh is working with the Raleigh-Apex NAACP to launch a community violence intervention program.

Mayor Baldwin expressed grief during her remarks. She called on the citizens of Raleigh to extend kindness and support to each other.

"We all hoped that something like this would never happen in our community," Baldwin said, choking back tears. "And yet here we all are."

She added: "We as a community must emerge from the darkness by relying on one another so that the inner glow of this great city continues to shine."

Steele said he's grateful for the outpouring of love and support he's received.

"I know I have dark days ahead of me. It's inevitable," he said. "But I also know I'll get through them because my community, my friends and my family will be there for me."

ADDITIONAL PHOTOS:

Matt Ramey
/
For WUNC
Attendees of a vigil in downtown Raleigh on October 23, 2022 in honor of the five victims of a mass shooting earlier this month.
Matt Ramey
/
For WUNC
Local, state, and federal officials attended a vigil in downtown Raleigh on October 23, 2022 in honor of the five victims of a mass shooting earlier this month.
Matt Ramey
/
For WUNC
Attendees of a vigil in downtown Raleigh on October 23, 2022 in honor of the five victims of a mass shooting earlier this month.
Memorial Quilt
Matt Ramey
/
For WUNC
A memorial quilt for the victims of a mass shooting in Raleigh was on display during a vigil in Sunday, October 23, 2022.

Celeste Gracia covers the environment for WUNC. She has been at the station since September 2019 and started off as morning producer.