The parents of a 15-year-old accused of killing five people in North Carolina last week say they’re devastated by the loss of innocent lives.
“Words cannot begin to describe our anguish and sorrow,” Alan and Elise Thompson said in a statement through their attorneys, which was obtained by CNN affiliate WTVD.
“Our son Austin inflicted immeasurable pain on the Raleigh community, and we are overcome 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 for their loss and for the loss of our son, James,” the statement continued.
“We pray that Marcille “Lynn” Gardner and Raleigh Police Officer Casey Clark fully recover from their injuries, and we pray for everyone who was traumatized by these senseless acts of violence.”
Austin Thompson remains hospitalized in critical condition. The teen has not been charged, but Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman has said her office intends on charging the suspect as an adult.
Just 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 cooperating with law enforcement “and do whatever 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 US 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.