UNC Charlotte shooting hero Riley Howell to be buried with full military honors

A petition posted to WhiteHouse.gov requested that University of North Carolina Charlotte student Riley Howell, who was shot when trying to stop a gunman on campus, be granted a full military burial.


                            UNC Charlotte shooting hero Riley Howell to be buried with full military honors

Riley Howell, a 21-year-old University of North Carolina Charlotte student, who was shot when trying to stop a gunman on campus will be honored with a full military burial. Howell died in a classroom after tackling the  22-year-old gunman,Trystan Andrew Terrell.

"Absolutely, Mr. Howell saved lives," Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney said at a news conference this week, adding that Howell "did exactly what we train people to do." Howell was in a classroom when Terrell open fired on campus on April 30, killing two and injuring four others. Terrell is charged with two counts of murder, attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon and firearms offenses.

In this May 23, 2017 photo provided by Matthew Westmoreland, Riley Howell, right, is seen. Police said a few students, including Howell, died and several others were injured. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney said Howell's actions likely saved the lives of other students. (Matthew Westmoreland via AP)

Along with Howell, 19-year-old Ellis Parlier was killed in the open fire. The four injured students are identified as Drew Pescaro, 19, and Sean Dehart, 20, both of Apex, N.C., Rami Alramadhan, 20, of Saudi Arabia, and Emily Houpt, 23, of Charlotte.

A petition posted to WhiteHouse.gov requested that Howell, an environmental studies major, receive a burial with full military honors and as of Saturday morning, it had more than 28,000 of the 100,000 signatures needed by May 31 to get a response. "He was one of 2 students killed and 4 wounded, but there may have been many more victims had Riley not rushed the gunman and tackled him," the petition states, adding "Riley was an ROTC cadet and would have served his country. Instead, he died saving the lives of his classmates. For his heroism, we ask that Riley be given a burial with full military honors." 

Riley Howell has been hailed as a hero in the UNC Charlotte shooting that occurred on April 30. (Matthew Westmoreland via AP)

 Howell's body had arrived back in his hometown with a police escort. Dozens of people stood on streets with US flags at the end of the 150 mile (240 kilometers) journey west from Howell's college home in Charlotte to his mountain hometown of Waynesville. Howell's mother hugged every police officer in the procession, television footage showed.

Howell’s mother told NBC's 'Today' show on Thursday she was "beyond proud" of her son's heroic actions. "While kids were running one way, our son turned and ran towards the shooter," Natalie Henry-Howell said. "If he was in the room when something like that was happening, and he had turned away, he wouldn't have been able to live with himself."