The latest school shooting at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte, which took the lives of two students and left four others injured, took place on Tuesday of this week. One of the victims, Riley Howell, 21, was killed after heroically attempting to tackle the gunman and prevent him from shooting, reported NPR.
Howell has been praised as a hero who saved lives, according to local police. He was able to knock the gunman off his feet before tragically being shot himself.
In a news conference, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney praised Howell’s efforts.
“[Howell] did exactly what we train people to do — you’re either going to run, you’re going to hide and shield, or you’re going to take the fight to the assailant. Having no place to run and hide, he did the last. But for his work, the assailant may not have been disarmed. Unfortunately, he gave his life in the process. But his sacrifice saved lives.”
The dad of Howell’s girlfriend of six years spoke to reporters about Howell’s bravery, commenting that his decision to tackle the shooter fit with his character.
“If Lauren was with Riley, he would step in front of a train for her if he had to. I didn’t realize it might come to that for somebody else.”
The second fatality in the shooting was 19-year-old Ellis Parlier of Midland, NC, while the four injured students included Rami Alramadhan, 20, of Saihat, Saudi Arabia, Sean DeHart, 20, and Drew Pescaro, 19, both of Apex, NC, and Emily Houpt, 23, of Charlotte, NC.
The gunman has been identified as former UNC Charlotte student Trystan Andrew Terrell, 22, who is currently in custody and scheduled to appear in court on Thursday. His grandfather, Paul Rold, told reporters that his grandson is on the autism spectrum and isn’t very social. He added that Terrell was very smart and liked to learn foreign languages, wrote The Guardian.
It was also determined that Terrell’s gun was legally purchased and that he was equipped with an abundance of ammo. Police are still uncertain as to whether or not Terrell was targeting specific people on campus, but he began shooting in the Kennedy Building.
As police brought him into the station, Terrell was quoted as saying, “I just went into a classroom and shot the guys,” reported The Guardian.
Terrell is still under observation by law enforcement and has not yet been in contact with his lawyer or family.