College Community Praise ‘hero’ student who died tackling college gunman

A shocked college community has paid tribute to a “hero” student who died tackling a gunman at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte.

Riley Howell charged at the assailant and knocked him down, buying enough time for the first officer into the classroom to capture Trystan Andrew Terrell, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney said.

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Mr Howell, 21, was fatally wounded in the effort, along with Ellis Parlier, a 19-year-old student who had studied information technology and computer technology.

Mr Howell was hailed as a hero by stunned friends and family. A runner and former football player, he was “a big, muscular guy with a huge heart”, his family said in a statement.

The father of his long-time girlfriend, Lauren Westmoreland, said he would have made a fine firefighter or paramedic.

“If what happened in that room is what they say, I completely see Riley doing that,” said Kevin Westmoreland, whose daughter was Mr Howell’s girlfriend of nearly six years. “He was just the kind of person, if someone tripped and fell, he would be the first one to try to help them.”

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