Riley Howell, the True Hero at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte


Riley Howell was an environmental studies student.

The campus of the University of North Carolina-Charlotte was reeling Wednesday, hours after a former student with a pistol fatally shot two people and wounded four others before campus police disarmed and arrested him, authorities said.


Two of the victims who were wounded are from the Triangle: Drew Pescaro, 19, and Sean Dehart, 20, both of Apex. The other two who were injured have been identified as Rami Alramadhan, 20, of Saudi Arabia, and Emily Houpt, 23, of Charlotte.

According to WCNC, the two victims who died were pronounced dead at the scene. University officials have identified them as Ellis Parlier, 19, of Midland, and Riley Howell, 21, of Waynesville.

Howell was a 2016 graduate of T.C. Roberson High School in Buncombe County, the school district said Wednesday.

The shooting suspect has been identified as Trystan Terrell, 22, a history major who recently dropped out of school. He is autistic and, right now, the police have not said why the killer went into that classroom and started shooting.

The police did say he was familiar with the building and his choice was “intentional.”

One student described the horror, “He just came in and shot, and then he stopped shooting, and then he didn’t say a word at all.”

Trystan Terrell, mugshot

A student in the classroom, Riley Howell charged at the gunman and tackled him. Terrell had already fired several rounds. Howell tried to disarm him and lost his life in the attempt.

“But for his work, the assailant may not have been disarmed,” Chief Kerr Putney of the Charlotte-Mecklenberg Police Department said of Mr. Howell, who was shot in the process at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte campus Tuesday evening. “Unfortunately, he gave his life in the process. But his sacrifice saved lives.”

“Mr. Howell saved lives,” Putney said.


The mother of University of North Carolina Charlotte shooting victim Riley Howell said Thursday his family is “beyond proud” of his actions.

“While kids were running one way, our son turned and ran toward the shooter,” Natalie Henry-Howell, Riley’s mother, told NBC’s “Today” show. “If he was in the room when something like that was happening, and he had turned away, he wouldn’t have been able to live with himself.”

Teddy Howell, Riley Howell’s 14-year-old brother, agreed, saying there was no question that his 21-year-old brother would have done all he could to stop the killer.

“He put others before himself,” Teddy told “Today.” “He always has.”

Trystan Andrew Terrell, 22, has been charged with two counts of murder and four counts of attempted murder. The authorities said the handgun used in the shooting had been purchased legally.

Lauren Westmoreland, Riley’s girlfriend, said she and Howell had discussed marriage. She said she was devastated by his death. She called him her “angel” now.

“Just tell people you love them,” she told “Today.” “The last thing that I got to say to him was that I loved him.”

As Terrell was taken into a station house he looked over his shoulder with a smile and yelled a comment to reporters. Television station WBTV quoted the remark as: “I just went into his classroom and shot the guy.”


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