The family of Riley Howell, one of the two people killed in the University of North Carolina Charlotte shooting, were not at all surprised when they heard their son saved lives with his heroic actions.
“We are just beyond proud of what he was able to do,” Natalie Henry-Howell, Riley’s mother, told “Today” on Wednesday. “While kids were running one way, our son turned and ran toward the shooter.”
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department Chief Kerr Putney said Tuesday that Howell charged at the gunman and took him “off his feet” — an act that bought the police time and “saved lives.”
“Seeing exactly what was going on, [Howell] did exactly what we train people to do,” Putney said. “You’re either going to run, 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.”
Howell’s younger siblings said their brother’s courageous actions were emblematic of who he was as a person.
“There was no question, there was no doubt that he would have done what he did,” Teddy Howell, 14, said. “He put others before himself … He always has.”
“[He] saved a whole room of people just to make sure some people got out there alive,” Iris Howell, 19, said.
Howell and Ellis Parlier, 19, were both fatally shot in Tuesday night’s shooting at the campus. Four other students — Rami Alramadhan, Sean DeHart, Emily Houpt and Drew Pescaro — were injured.
Former student Trystan Andrew Terrell was charged with two counts of murder, four counts of attempted murder and other charges. His first court appearance is scheduled for Thursday.
Lauren Westmoreland, Howell’s longtime girlfriend, said she is devastated following her boyfriend’s death. She took it as an opportunity to encourage others to cherish those they love.
“Just tell people you love them,” she said. “That was the last thing that I got to say to him was that I loved him.”
© 2019 New York Daily News
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.