Hedingham warrants say accused shooter confessed to killing brother, describes arsenal

Search warrants released Thursday in the 2022 Hedingham mass shooting reveal the accused teenage shooter left a note in the family’s home describing how he killed his brother.

The warrants also state that suspect Austin Thompson looked up “active shooter” online and spoke by phone with his father as the incident was unfolding.

On Oct. 13, 2022, seven people were shot in Raleigh neighborhood near the Neuse River Greenway Trail. Five were killed, including Thompson’s 16-year-old brother James and a Raleigh police officer.

Austin Thompson is charged with five counts of murder in the deaths of his brother, Nicole Connors, Susan Karnatz, Mary Elizabeth Marshall and Gabriel Torres.

After the shootings, Thompson fled about a mile northeast of the neighborhood, hid in a shed off of McConnell Oliver Drive and engaged in a standoff with officers.

He was taken into custody after reportedly shooting himself and was taken to WakeMed, where he remained in critical condition for several days.

Suspect searched on mass shootings

The warrants indicate that an officer found Thompson’s phone in the shed and that it showed the teen had searched previous mass shootings, looking for “the age of the suspects, weapons and ammunition used in violent crime and police response tactics.”

The warrants also state Austin Thompson’s father, Alan, indicated he was in contact with his son by phone before the first person was killed and later as Austin was being tracked.

An examination of Alan Thomson’s phone showed he communicated with Austin “on a regular basis through his cell phone number … via both calls and messages,” the warrants state.

Note, arsenal found in family’s home

The warrants state James Thompson was found in the master bedroom of the family’s home on Sahalee Way and that, in a note signed with a first name beginning with the letter A, the author “claims responsibility for J.T.’s death.”

The letter describes the killing “in some detail.”

Investigators seized 11 firearms and 160 boxes of ammunition, some of then empty from the home, the warrants state. This included four shotguns, five rifles and two pistols.

Additional items seized included four laptops, several computer hard drives, a Playstation, an Internet router, unspecified health screening documents and school report cards.

The trial for Austin Thompson, now 16, is scheduled to begin Sept. 22, 2025, in Wake County Superior Court, District Attorney Lorrin Freeman has said.