Family and community say goodbye to Raleigh officer killed in mass shooting – WSOC TV


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

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

Torres, a Raleigh police officer and former US Marine, was inside his personal vehicle and about to leave for work when authorities said he was shot by a 15-year-old boy wearing clothes in camouflage and shooting with a shotgun.

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Police said the teenager killed five people in all, including his older brother, during the October 13 rampage. As authorities continue to search for a motive, the North Carolina capitol was still reeling nine days later and paying tribute to those who had died.

Speaking at the Cross Assembly Church in Raleigh, Jasmin Torres recalled flashes of her husband’s final moments, including hearing ‘cracks’ that didn’t make sense at first.

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

She added: “I gave it my all to try to save you. I’m sorry if I scared you. I didn’t know I could scream that loud.

(PHOTOS: Remembering Raleigh Police Officer Gabriel Torres)

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

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

Raleigh Police Chief Estella Patterson said Torres often checks in with colleagues he trained with in police economics during off-peak times on his shift.

“Always making sure they and their families were okay,” the chef said. “I’m told he always had something extra on hand, whether it was a pair of socks, a t-shirt, an extra flashlight or a few extra dollars to share if someone was in need. “

The highlight of Torres’ day, Patterson said, was cooking dinner for Jasmin and their daughter Layla before starting her shift.

“He left an example for each of us of what the world needs most – not for those who shun the challenges of the profession and the dangers inherent in this work,” the chef said. “But those who run protect themselves against the forces that hunt and hate; those who divide and destroy.

Less than two hours after US Marines skillfully folded the US flag draped over Torres’ coffin, another memorial was planned for 49-year-old Susan Karnatz. She was killed during the rampage while running on a footpath.

Karnatz was an avid runner who completed the Boston Marathon four times. She was the mother of three boys.

A memorial is also expected in the coming days for Mary Marshall, 34, a Navy veteran who walked her dog and planned to get married later this month.

Nicole Connors, who was talking to a neighbor on her porch, was the matriarch of her extended family and had worked in human resources. His funeral is scheduled for Thursday in Dayton, Ohio, according to the Dayton Daily News.

A memorial was held last 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 and shorts had been placed on James Thompson’s casket.

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

The shooting suspect has been identified by his parents as Austin Thompson. Police said they believe he fired at officers and that several officers returned fire before his arrest. He remains in critical condition, according to a police report released Thursday.

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

His mother said on Wednesday he had been moved to a pediatric intensive care unit. The main local prosecutor said she would seek to charge the youngster as an adult.

The Raleigh Police Department shared the following statement from Jasmin Torres on Saturday:

“Today we say goodbye to my husband, Gabe.

“On behalf of my family, there are not enough ‘Thank you’s in this world that I can say or write. Since the tragic loss of my husband, our family has received an outpouring of love and an incredible show of strength that helped us get through this ordeal on a daily basis.

“My family and I ask for privacy as we continue to mourn our loss in the days ahead. We are eternally grateful for the support of the RPD family and community.

(WATCH BELOW: Billy Graham’s Rapid Response Team lends a helping hand to mourners in Raleigh after mass shooting)

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