Wife recalls final moments of North Carolina officer killed by 15-year-old with shotgun

The wife of an off-duty police officer killed during a North Carolina mass shooting recalled Saturday how she tried to save him after he was shot.

“I’m glad you were still with me long enough to be able to kiss your skin while it was still warm,” Jasmin Torres said at the funeral for 29-year-old Gabriel Torres. “While I could still feel the pulse of your heart.”

Torres, a Raleigh police officer and former U.S. Marine, was inside his personal vehicle and about to leave for work when authorities said a 15-year-old boy wearing camouflage shot and fired with a shotgun.


Police said the teen killed five people, including his older brother, during the Oct. 13 rampage in the Hedingham neighborhood and on a nearby walking trail. As authorities continue to search for a motive, North Carolina’s capital city was still reeling days later and paying tribute to those who had died.

Speaking at Cross Assembly Church in Raleigh, Jasmin Torres recalled flashes of her husband’s last moments.

“Finding yourself hurt with your life slipping away is too much pain to handle,” he said.

He added: “I gave everything to try to save you. I’m sorry if I scared you. I didn’t know I could scream so loud.”

Jasmin Torres recalled the times she and her husband had spent apart over the years, including during his deployments as a Marine and later working nights as a police officer.

“I’m so, so, so proud of you,” said his wife. “You were so dedicated to your work. I had to beg you to use your time off. Your night shifts were tough, they created distance, but we got through it.”

Raleigh Police Chief Estella Patterson said Torres often checked on fellow officers with whom he had trained at the police academy.

“Always making sure that they and their families were okay,” the chief said. “They told me I always had something extra on hand, whether it was an extra pair of socks, a t-shirt, an extra flashlight, or a few extra bucks to share if someone needed it.”

The highlight of Torres’ day, Patterson said, was making dinner for Jasmin and her daughter Layla before work.

“He has set an example for each of us of what the world needs most, not of those who run away from the challenges of the profession and the inherent dangers,” the chief said. “But those who run, protecting against the forces that prey and hate; those who divide and destroy.”

Five people were killed by a teenager on October 15, including an off-duty police officer and the killer’s older brother.

Not long after US Marines folded the American flag draping Torres’s casket, friends and family of another shooting victim, Susan Karnatz, filled the sanctuary of the North Raleigh Presbyterian Church, The News & Observer reported.

Glass panels in the church’s ceiling offered glimpses of the natural world that Karnatz loved and whose beauty led her to believe in God as a teenager, Pastor Lisa Hebacker said during the service.

Karnatz, 49, died while running on the trail. An avid runner, she had completed the Boston Marathon four times. She had taken a break from her early career as a school psychologist to homeschool her three children, The News & Observer reported.

“And now I wonder what his life could teach us, even through his death,” Hebacker said. “I’m sure, sure, that the circumstances surrounding Sue’s death teach us that the world still has a lot to learn about love.”

A memorial is also expected in the coming days for Mary Marshall, 34, a Navy veteran who was walking her dog when she was killed. She had planned to get married at the end of this month.

Another victim was Nicole Connors, shot while talking to a neighbor on her porch. She was the matriarch of her extended family and her funeral is scheduled for Thursday in Dayton, Ohio, according to the Dayton Daily News.

A memorial was held Thursday for 16-year-old James Thompson, the older brother of the 15-year-old who police say carried out the shooting. A basketball jersey had been placed on top of James Thompson’s casket.

He was “getting to that age where the whole world was opening up to him,” Jeff Roberts, senior pastor of Trinity Baptist Church, said during the service.

The shooting suspect was identified by his parents as Austin Thompson. Police said he believes he fired at the officers and that multiple officers returned fire before he was arrested. He remains in critical condition, according to a report released by police on Thursday.


The parents released a statement that they are “overcome with grief” and saw no warning signs that “Austin was capable of doing something like this.”

His mother said Wednesday that he was moved to a pediatric intensive care unit. The top local prosecutor has said she will seek to charge the young man as an adult.

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