One of the two students killed in a UNC Charlotte classroom on Tuesday died after jumping on the gunman to try to stop him, witnesses have revealed.
Riley Howell, 21, died on Tuesday along with Ellis Parlier, 19.
Both were shot by Trystan Terrell, a 22-year-old dropout who opened fire on their classroom at 5.40pm. He is in custody awaiting his first court date on murder and attempted murder charges.
Witnesses have since paid tribute to Howell who died trying to save others, according to local outlet WSOCTV.
Riley Howell, 21, (left) and Ellis Parlier, 19, (right) died on Tuesday. Howell died ‘jumping’ on the gunman to try to save others, according to witnesses
His former soccer coach said there were ‘no words to describe how good a human being’ he was.
‘You can’t really put into words what a good human being he was.
‘There aren’t words to describe how we’re all feeling. This is tragic,’ Josh Martin, the Rams soccer coach told The Citizen Times.
He said he had spent the morning ‘crying his eyes out’.
In a lengthy statement, his family paid tribute to him as a ‘big, muscular guy with a big heart’.
‘Riley was truly a one of a kind guy. He loved all things outdoors, adventure, and especially family.
‘He loved to work outside and when he worked, he did it with his hands and his heart.
‘He always was able to put others before himself and never hesitated to help anyone who needed it. He was friends with anyone and everyone,’ they said.
They went on to list the things he loved, including Star Wars and ‘his Lauren’.
‘He was the kind of person who you knew would take care of you the moment you met him and he always did.
‘He radiated love and always will. As a friend said, “Beautiful souls like Riley are always with us in the way they made life more beautiful,”‘ the statement ended.
Before he was named among the victims, Howell’s adoring girlfriend made frantic pleas for information about whether or not he had been harmed through friends who took to social media.
Howell, shown in his high school graduation photo, was described by family as a ‘big, muscular guy with a big heart’
Howell’s girlfriend Lauren frantically searched for information about whether or not he had been harmed on social media before learning that he was among the victims. They are shown recently
Drew Pescaro (left) and Emily Houpt (right) were both injured but will make a full recovery
The 21-year-old was from Asheville, North Carolina.
Parlier, 19, was from Midland, North Carolina. He was a graduate of the Central Academy of Technology and Arts.
His family were too grief-stricken on Wednesday to release a statement.
‘It’s very shocking as you can imagine. Our community is still in shock in dealing with this loss.
Trystan Terrell (pictured), 22, has been charged with two counts of murder and four of attempted murder after Tuesday’s University of North Carolina shooting
‘The news is still very fresh in our community,’ Tahira Stalberte, a spokeswoman for the school system, said.
Four students were also injured.
They are Drew Pescaro, 19, Sean Dehart, 20, Rami Alramatin, 20, and Emily Houpt, 23.
Emily’s mother said on Facebook that she would make a full recovery.
‘Emily is doing well under the circumstances and will make a full physical recovery in a couple of weeks.
‘I am so very angry right now and I’m sure as I process the events of this day and it all begins to sink in, I will have more to say about this senseless tragedy!’
Rami is from Saudi Arabia.
Police are yet to reveal Terrell’s motive. He dropped out from the college this semester but the circumstances surrounding his departure are not known.
One of the gunshot victims is seen in the above photo being helped by another person
A blood stained shirt is seen above after a shooting at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte on Tuesday
The image above shows students at UNCC remaining in place after news about the shooting broke
Shattered glass is seen on the floor at the entrance to a building on campus in Charlotte on Tuesday
He has lived in Charlotte for the last two years but grew up in Texas with his grandfather.
His mother Robyn died in 2011 after battling breast cancer.
According to a 2016 blog post by his father, Terrell was diagnosed with autism when he was three.
His grandfather was ‘stunned’ by his involvement in the shooting and said on Tuesday that he had never shown any interest in guns or weapons.
The shooting began at 5.40pm when he burst into an anthropology class while students were giving presentations.
The victims were named on Wednesday morning as Riley Howell, 21, and Ellis Parlier, 19.
Trystan Terrell, the 22-year-old suspect in the shooting at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte on Tuesday, was seen smirking as he was led into the police station during his arrest
Terrell is shown with his sister and father in a photograph that was uploaded to social media two weeks ago
Drew Pescaro, 19, Sean Dehart, 20, Rami Alramatin, 20, and Emily Houpt, 23, were injured.
Terrell was a student at the college until this semester but dropped out. The circumstances around his departure are not yet known.
According to a 2016 blog post by his father, he is autistic. He had moved to North Carolina from Texas where he lived with his maternal grandfather.
His mother, Robyn, died from breast cancer in 2011.
Terrell has been charged with two counts of murder and four of attempted murder.
He also faces four charges of assault with a deadly weapon and two for alleged firearms offences.
A video taken as he made his way into the police station on Tuesday showed him turning to answer a reporter who asked what happened and saying without a hint of remorse: ‘I went into a classroom and shot some guys.’
He is due in court on Thursday afternoon.
His grandfather reacted in shock to the news on Tuesday and said he never showed any interest in guns or weapons.
Rold told The Associated Press that the actions don’t sound like his grandson.
The school’s official Twitter handle tweeted alerts to students and faculty
He said: ‘You’re describing someone foreign to me. This is not in his DNA.’
He added that Trystan had never shown any interest in guns or weapons and claimed he taught himself French and Portuguese.
But classmates described him as ‘quiet’ and introverted.
‘He just seemed really quiet and standoffish. I’ve never seen him talk to anyone else or socializing really like the rest of the people around campus, because we’re pretty close-knit.
‘Everyone knows everyone pretty much and I’ve never seen him at events or parties or anything like that,’ one told Fox 46.
On Tuesday night, the university’s chancellor released a statement to say it had been the ‘saddest’ day in its history.
‘This is the saddest day in UNC Charlotte’s history. Earlier this evening, the unthinkable happened on our campus.
‘Families of the deceased victims are being notified, and university staff are with those who are injured. The entire UNC Charlotte community shares the shock and grief of this senseless, devastating act. This was an attack on all of Niner Nation,’ he said.
Finals that had been scheduled to take place on Wednesday are now due to happen on Sunday.