Everyday Heroes

Slain Student Helped Stop Shooter, Hailed as Hero

Police: Riley Howell's action's saved lives.


We're learning more about one of the victims in the shooting at UNC Charlotte on Tuesday. Police say 21-year-old Riley Howell died a hero.

Howell and other students were in an anthropology class when police say the suspect burst through the door with a handgun and started shooting. Charlotte-Mecklenberg police chief Kerr Putney says Howell was unable to hide or flee the gunman, so he fought back.

"He took the fight to the assailant," Putney said. "He took the assailant off his feet. And then the heroes that we have here were able to apprehend him."

Putney said there is no doubt that Howell's actions saved lives. A fellow student, Ellis "Reed" Parlier, was also killed. Four others were injured. The suspect, who recently withdrew from classes at UNC Charlotte, is charged with two counts of murder and four counts of attempted murder. Police have not identified a motive for the shooting, and say the gun used was purchased legally.

Tributes to Howell have been pouring in since his heroic actions and death on Tuesday. His family released a statement saying "[Riley] was friends with anyone and everyone--a big muscular guy with a huge heart...He was the kind of guy you knew would take care of you the moment you met him, and he always did."

A verified GoFundMe has been set up to support the Howell family .

Images courtesy the Howell family.

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