Local News

Suspect in teen soccer player's death has criminal history

Posted November 17, 2014 6:18 a.m. EST
Updated November 17, 2014 8:00 p.m. EST

— A Knightdale man accused of firing a gunshot that killed a 13-year-old boy sleeping in his Raleigh hotel room Friday night has a long criminal record with more than two dozen convictions and was not supposed to be carrying a gun.

Randall Louis Vater, 42, of 3701 Kemp Drive, Knightdale, made his first court appearance Monday on a charge of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Nathan Andrew Clark, of Lewisville.

Nathan was in town for a soccer tournament and was staying at the Comfort Suites hotel on Corporation Parkway with his family when, police said, a shot fired in an adjacent room penetrated a wall and hit Nathan in the head.

Vater was also charged with possession of a firearm by a felon – because of a March 31, 2014, conviction in which he served six months in prison for violating a domestic violence protective order.

In asking a District Court judge to keep Vater's bond at $1 million, District Attorney Ned Mangum noted Vater is on parole for that conviction and that he has 28 prior convictions that qualify him as a habitual felon.

Those convictions, over the past several decades, include hit-and-run, communicating threats, assault on a female and breaking-and-entering.

His most recent stems from a July 2013 protective order in which a woman complained that Vater, at one point, pushed her into a window and threatened to kill her. He was arrested in December 2013 after he cut the woman in the chest with a buck knife

Court records show there have been several other protective orders against Vater, including one where a woman said he threatened to kill her and her family with a pipe bomb.

Talking to reporters after Vater's court appearance, Mangum would not comment on why Vater was at the hotel Friday night, what he was doing when the gun went off or any other details of the police investigation.

"All I really can say is that this is just a heart-wrenching situation. I feel so bad for this family. It's so sad," Mangum said. "As a parent, it just makes you want to go home and hug your kids a little tighter at night."

Nathan was an eighth-grader at Calvary Baptist Day School in Winston-Salem and played varsity soccer for the school.

"Nathan was a terrific and gifted young man who had a great love for people, and he will be greatly missed," Richard Hardee, associate pastor and head of the school, said in a statement.

Map