Details of Raleigh Killings Emerge; 15-Year-Old Suspect in Critical Condition for Unknown Reason

For Hedingham-based Marvin Judd, Nicole Connors and her beloved wire-haired dog, Sami, were as much a part of his routine as his daily commute to get an egg and cheese biscuit for breakfast.

“I would see her walking that dog,” said Judd, 76, who has lived in the densely built neighborhood on Raleigh’s eastern outskirts for 20 years. “And I would stop and talk to her on the way out and on the way back.”

Judd spoke to the human resources specialist “about the Lord.” He offered spiritual comfort to the 52-year-old former Catholic student as she underwent microsurgery on her left shoulder.

“I would tell her that God will heal her,” he said.

Connors recently told Judd that she was almost done with rehab. And then she was gone – and the peace of Hedingham was shattered.

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Police say a 15-year-old boy – dressed in camouflage and armed with a shotgun, according to 911 callers – has turned the gently curving streets of Hedingham and the riverside greenway beyond into a killing zone. When Thursday’s shooting was over, five people, including Connors, were dead.

Sami, short for Samantha, was found dead at Connor’s feet.

Although police have not identified the gunman, who was arrested hours after the attacks and taken to hospital in critical condition for unknown reasons, neighbors believe he was living in Hedingham.

“It’s very close,” said Joshua Phillips, who often took Connors on walks with his pit bull buddy.

Hedingham is like many American neighborhoods. You may not know the names of everyone on your block, but people greet each other across the driveways and always find something to talk about.

But Phillips said Thursday’s carnage was a “wake-up call”.

“To let you know how real it is where everything is 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’re going to be a little more careful. You don’t know what’s going on, who’s into what.”

The expansive 18-hole course at Hedingham Golf Club serves as a grand gateway to the community along its south-west boundary. Now the brick cornices that line its entrance – each one read HEDINGHAM in gilded block letters – are piled high with bouquets and candles, the North Carolina flag flies at half-staff beside the makeshift memorial.

Volunteers distributed free meals across from the golf club’s entrance on Friday night, while counselors and a golden retriever in a blue therapy dog ​​vest greeted the grieving community.

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With its golf course, lake and community pool, the sprawling neighborhood of single-family homes and townhomes is a relatively affordable haven in a booming real estate market. Banana trees, azaleas, and rhododendron bushes adorn manicured lawns, many of which are dotted with pumpkins, ghosts, and other Halloween decorations.

Allison and Braden Greenawalt moved to Hedingham in 2019, just before the pandemic began. Even as COVID-19 forced people to stay closer to home, she found support from her new friends.

“It’s been a very warm community of people supporting each other,” she said.

It was the same network of support she was clinging to Thursday night.

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 was a very warm community of people supporting each other,” she said, tears streaming down her cheeks as blue and white police cameras lit up the night. “We are a group of people who care about each other and stick together.”

One of the neighborhood’s treasures is the Neuse River Greenway, a biking and walking trail that winds past the Greenawalts’ home. At least two of the victims were found there, according to 911 calls.

As she walked the greenway Friday afternoon, Sara Cutter, 31, said she felt “a lingering sadness for Raleigh.”

Walks in nature are a regular part of her self-care routine, she said.

“It’s one of the better places in town to feel like you’re in nature,” said Cutter, a vendor, as she walked down the trail with a friend. “It is hidden with trees in many places. So you forget for a moment that you are in the city.”

This atmosphere of calm was all the more important as she processed this tragedy in her hometown.

“I saw some somber faces while walking today,” she said. “But it was also good to see the people. The community – that will get us through.”

Despite the tragedy, Cutter said she intends to continue using the trail. But she added, “I’ll probably never walk alone again.”

Tracey Howard said he and Connors, his wife of five years, have always felt safe at Hedingham.

The couple, who met on Facebook, have been renting their two-story home for about four years. But they planned to look for a new home after the New Year.

“Somewhere on the outskirts of Raleigh,” the truck driver said. “Something with more yards.”

After what happened he knows he can’t stay at Hedingham.

“How can I?” he said.

Judd said Connors’ death left a gaping hole in the community and in his heart.

“She was a sweet person,” he said. “She had a good heart. And she was always kind and gentle to everyone she met. She met no strangers. Everyone was a friend.”

But Allison Greenawalt still finds beauty in this place.

“The calm is broken a bit,” she said. “And I know that while we may be a little shattered at the moment, we will grow back stronger than ever.

“You have to prune a bush to make it bloom.”

The Western Journal reviewed this Associated Press report and may have amended it prior to publication to ensure it meets our editorial standards.

https://www.westernjournal.com/ap-raleigh-shooting-rampage-shatters-quiet-neighborhoods-peace/ Details of Raleigh Killings Emerge; 15-Year-Old Suspect in Critical Condition for Unknown Reason

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