RALEIGH, N.C. — A male teenager fatally shot five people, including an off-duty police officer, in Raleigh, N.C., on Thursday, the authorities said.
The authorities have not yet disclosed the gunman’s age or a possible motive, among other details. But it was clear that the violence had stunned a middle-class area in one of America’s fastest-growing cities.
“I can’t believe this is happening in my neighborhood,” Cheryl St. James, a nurse, said late Thursday as she inched her car through traffic caused by a crush of police and emergency vehicles. “It’s scary.”
Yet at this stage of America’s numbing epidemic of gun violence — in a rich country where school children participate in “mass casualty” simulations — such episodes are no longer all that surprising.
Another young man stalking civilians with a powerful weapon. Another quiet American neighborhood forced to digest the incomprehensible.
“Tonight, terror has reached our doorstep,” Gov. Roy Cooper said at a news conference just before 11 p.m. at the Raleigh Municipal Building. “The nightmare of every community has come to Raleigh. This is a senseless, horrific and infuriating act of violence.”
A day earlier, terror had struck six states away in Bristol, Conn., when two police officers were killed and a third was wounded in what the authorities described as an apparent ambush by a 35-year-old gunman who was killed at the scene.
The death toll in Raleigh on Thursday made the shooting the deadliest of 17 shootings in North Carolina so far this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive.
Two others were wounded: a police officer who was released from the hospital and another person who remained in critical condition, the authorities said. None of the victims had been identified as of Friday morning.
The shooting was the latest instance of gun violence by a young man in the United States. So far, the year’s most notorious episode was in Uvalde, Texas, where an 18-year-old gunman killed 19 children and two teachers at an elementary school.
In July, a 20-year-old gunman killed three people and wounded two others at a mall food court in Indiana — less than two weeks after a 21-year-old gunman killed seven and wounded dozens more during a Fourth of July parade in a Chicago suburb.
Raleigh’s mayor, Mary-Ann Baldwin, appeared emotional as she tallied up the casualties at a news conference on Thursday. Hours later, she appealed to people beyond the city’s limits.
“We have to end this mindless gun violence that is happening in our country,” Ms. Baldwin said, adding that there are “too many victims.”
“We have to wake up,” she said. “I don’t want other mayors standing here at the podium with their hearts breaking because people in their community died.”
The shooting occurred in the Hedingham neighborhood in the northeast of Raleigh, where single-family homes and golf courses sit near the Neuse River Greenway, a bike and walking trail that winds through wetlands and pine groves. Residents said they heard police sirens about 4 p.m., about two hours before the police asked them to remain in their homes.
By 9:37 p.m., the siege was over, and the suspect was in custody, the police said. But there were so many emergency vehicles in the area that some residents were ensnared by traffic on their way home.
On Eagle Trace Drive, about a mile and a half from where the shooting occurred, sirens could be heard wailing in the distance as cars inched forward and police vehicles with flashing lights nosed through.
Ethan Garner, a project manager who has lived in the area for three years, said that he had left to get something to eat in the early evening. Hours later, he was sitting in his car, watching television on his phone as police officers attended to the crime scene.
“I leave my doors unlocked,” he said. “Yeah, I have cameras, but I never worry about anything like that. Nothing’s ever happened.”