CHARLOTTE – A gunman attacked on the campus of UNC Charlotte earlier this week, killing two and injuring others. For all the attention the shooter will surely get, we’d like to pass along the story of one of the victims, who likely prevented there being more victims.
His name is Riley Howell, and he tackled the shooter, sacrificing his life in the process.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney said Wednesday afternoon that 21-year-old Riley Howell “took the fight to the assailant” after determining he had no place to run or hide in his classroom Tuesday afternoon at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte.
Putney said that, without Howell’s attack, capturing 22-year-old Trystan Andrew Terrell might have taken longer.
“The first and foremost hero, as far as I’m concerned, and his name is Riley Howell,” Putney said. “He was probably the second fatality in this incident. His family as you might imagine, is traumatized, they’re devastated. But when I spoke to the father, one father to another, I told him personally I wish I had words.
“What I did tell him is, we’re committed to the work,” Putney continued. “We’re going to get to the bottom of it, we assured him we’re going to find out the why. We’re going to give them closure.”
Police said the shooter stormed into the building with loads of ammo and started firing — zeroing in on a classroom where students were giving their final presentations.
“But (Howell), seeing exactly what was going on, did exactly what we train people to do,” Putney said. “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,” Putney continued. “But for his work, the assailant may not have been disarmed. Unfortunately, he gave his life in the process.”
Please send up a prayer for the Howell family and friends, this week. His parents, while understandably devastated, should be proud that they raised a son that would take such action in defense of life.