Victim of UNC Shooting Rushed Shooter, Saving Lives

On April 30, a shooter opened fire in a classroom at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte killing two people and wounding four others.

Police arrested the suspect shortly after being informed of the violence, and the suspect remains in police custody.

While the police acted heroically, another hero to emerge from the tragedy was Riley Howell, a 21 year old student who tackled the shooter in an attempt to stop the violence and save lives.

Riley Howell was finishing his freshman year of college when a gunman stormed his classroom on the last day of the term. Howell tackled the gunman, losing his own life in the process. Photo Courtesy of CNN.

Howell was shot dead, as was 19-year-old Reed Parlier, though his bravery saved many other students.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department Chief Kerr Putney said Howell’s actions helped police arrest the shooter sooner and saved lives in the process, and that tackling the shooter was the right thing to do in the situation.

“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 or hide, [Howell] did the last,” said Chief Putney.

Before he lost his life saving others, Howell had dreams of entering the military or becoming a firefighter. He was the oldest of four children and always helped take care of his siblings, while growing up on his family’s farm in North Carolina.

“His faith was strong and he knew what he had to do when people needed him most,” said Howell’s family in a statement on Wednesday. “He was always the guy you could count on and he delivered.”

Howell was finishing up his freshman year of college when the shooting occurred.

The University of North Carolina, Charlotte has identified the wounded as Rami Al-Ramadhan, 20, of Saihat, Saudi Arabia; Sean DeHart, 20, and Drew Pescaro, 19, of Apex, North Carolina, and Emily Houpt, 23, of Charlotte.