A college student who was killed in a gun massacre at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, this week died trying to save others from being hurt or killed — and made it possible for police to quickly apprehend the shooting suspect.
CNN reports that Riley Howell, one of two students killed after Trystan Terrell opened fire in a classroom at the UNC campus on Tuesday evening, is being credited with saving lives by confronting the shooter — leading Howell to be fatally shot at point-blank range.
“He’s an athletically built young man and he took the fight to the assailant,” Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department Chief Kerr Putney told CNN.
“Unfortunately, he had to give his life to do so, but he saved lives doing so.”
Putney said that Howell’s intervention knocked Terrell off his feet, which made it easier for police to detain him. Terrell, 21, was taken into custody without incident shortly after the massacre began, and is facing multiple murder and attempted murder charges.
Howell’s grieving relatives are recognizing him as a hero, and say they are not surprised at Howell’s sacrifice.
“He did such a heroic thing,” Howell’s aunt Morgan Howell Moylan told CNN. “He was everybody’s protector. You felt safe when you were with Riley.”
A second student, 19-year-old Reed Parlier, was also killed in the shooting.
Authorities have not yet released information about a possible motive. Terrell is due in court on Thursday.