The parents of a 15-year-old accused of killing five people in North Carolina last week say they are devastated by the loss of innocent life.
“Words cannot begin to describe our anguish and grief,” Alan and Elise Thompson said in a statement through their attorneys obtained by CNN affiliate WTVD.
“Our son Austin caused the Raleigh community immeasurable pain and we are overwhelmed with grief for the innocent lives lost,” the parents said.
“We pray for the families and loved ones of Nicole Conners, Susan Karnatz, Mary Marshall and Raleigh Police Officer Gabriel Torres. We mourn their loss and the loss of our son, James,” the statement continued.
“We pray for Marcille “Lynn” Gardner and Raleigh Police Officer Casey Clark to make a full recovery from their injuries, and we pray for everyone who has been traumatized by these senseless acts of violence.
Austin Thompson remains hospitalized in critical condition. The teenager has not been charged, but Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman has said her office intends to charge the suspect as an adult.
Like so many others, his parents say they don’t understand why the mass tragedy happened.
“We have so many unanswered questions,” the Thompsons’ statement said.
“There were never any indications or warning signs that Austin was capable of doing anything like this.”
The parents said they will continue to cooperate with law enforcement “and do what we can to help them understand why and how this happened.”
According to the non-profit Gun Violence Archive, there have been at least 546 mass shootings in the United States this year. That’s an average of more than 1.8 mass shootings every day.
Both the Gun Violence Archive and CNN define a mass shooting as one in which at least four people are shot, excluding the shooter.