CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Two people killed in a shooting on UNC Charlotte’s campus Tuesday evening were identified by university officials Wednesday as 21-year-old Riley C. Howell of Waynesville, NC and 19-year-old Ellis R. Parlier of Midland, NC.
Officials identified the four injured when 22-year-old suspect Trystan Terrell opened fire as 20-year-old Rami Alramadhan of Saudi Arabia, 20-year-old Sean Dehart of Apex, NC, 23-year-old Emily Houpt of Charlotte, and 19-year-old Drew Pescaro of Apex, NC.
Howell was an environmental studies major who enrolled at UNCC in fall 2018, according to the university’s chancellor, Philip Dubois.
“Riley loved the outdoors, and Star Wars, and pizza; he played soccer and ran cross country in high school and was described by those close to him as upbeat and optimistic, and always with a smile on his face,” a message from Dubois read. “Riley’s family describes him as always putting others ahead of himself, and nothing exemplifies that more than his final, heroic actions in defense of his fellow students. We will not forget Riley.”
Parlier enrolled at UNCC in fall 2017 and intended to pursue a major in computer science. “Reed [Parlier] loved video games and aspired to one day become a game developer,” Dubois said. “He was generous with his time and talents, volunteering as a computer programming tutor for middle school students. Reed’s professors describe him as independent and motivated. We will not forget Reed.”
Police say Terrell was armed with a pistol when he went into the Kennedy building on UNC Charlotte’s main campus around 5:40 p.m. Tuesday. Sources say witnesses told investigators that he started shouting and began shooting randomly.
Multiple social media accounts report Howell, who sources say was in the classroom during the shooting, jumped on Terrell in an attempt to stop him. Howell’s actions delayed Terrell, allowing police more time to respond and students a chance to escape.
“He died a hero,” a Facebook post from Kim Barnes read. “He jumped on the shooter to try and stop him and was shot and killed in the process. He may not have stopped the shooter but he occupied him while others were able to get to safety and giving police time to get to the shooter.”
Terrell was charged in the shooting with two counts of murder, four counts of attempted murder, four counts of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, possession of firearm on educational property and discharging firearm on educational property.
A relationship between the victims and suspect has not been released. A police report lists the relationship between the two people killed and Terrell as “Not Known to Victim.”
Terrell made a full confession to investigators during his questioning at CMPD, sources say.
UNCC Emergency Management sent an alert to students that stated shots were reported near the Kennedy Hall building. The alert told students to “Run, Hide, Fight. Secure yourself immediately. Monitor email and emergency.uncc.edu.”
Shortly after the shooting, Medic confirmed two people were killed and four others were rushed to Carolinas Medical Center, three in critical condition and one with minor injuries.
One of those hurt in the shooting, Pescaro, was a sports writer for the Niner Times, UNC Charlotte’s student-run newspaper, the newspaper said.
The newspaper said Pescaro was out of surgery and stable as of Tuesday night.
Shooting victim Rami Alramadhan was released from the hospital Thursday.
Emily Houpt will make her way across the stage for commencements next week. “We’re delighted she’ll be there to go across the stage,” Dubois said of the shooting victim.
South Meck High School, where Houpt attended, released a s statement the day after the shooting:
“Sending our heartfelt thoughts and prayers for recovery and peace to South Meck alum, Emily Houpt, and all those affected by yesterday’s senseless tragedy at UNC Charlotte.”
During a press conference Tuesday evening, campus police said multiple officers immediately went into the building after getting reports of the shooting and disarmed the suspect and took him into custody. There is no word on what transpired during that confrontation.
“We also at the same time - simultaneously - secured the entire campus. We were able to lock it down through a system that we utilize and we can simply press one button and lock down the majority of campus,” said UNC Charlotte Police Chief Jeff Baker. “We were able to deploy all of the security systems that we have in place to notify the university that we did have an active shooter on campus at this time, urging the community to shelter in place immediately.”
“I can’t tell you the sadness of the entire community to know that a situation like this has occurred on our campus,” Baker said. “We are all pretty much devastated to know anything like this.”
Baker added that CMPD and the Charlotte Fire Department were on the scene and ready to assist almost immediately.