The mother of the North Carolina college student who was shot dead while confronting a gunman in his classroom said Thursday she was "beyond proud" of her son's heroic actions during the rampage on the campus that left another student dead and 4 others injured.
Riley Howell, 21, died in his classroom at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte on Tuesday after charging and tackling the alleged gunman, identified as 22-year-old Trystan Andrew Terrell.
"While kids were running one way, our son turned and ran towards the shooter," Natalie Henry-Howell, Riley's mother, told NBC's "Today" show on Thursday. "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."
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney said during a news conference Wednesday that Howell's decision to knock the assailant down allowed enough time for the first officer into the classroom to capture Terrell.
"His sacrifice saved lives," the chief said.
Howell's 14-year-old brother Teddy told "Today" his older sibling would always "put others before himself."
"There was no question, there was no doubt that he would have done what he did," he said Thursday.
Howell was with classmates for end-of-year presentations in an anthropology class when the shooting happened. Officials have not said what motivated the attack, but that Terrell had a lot of ammunition with a legally obtained pistol.
In a statement, UNC-Charlotte said all the victims were students, five from North Carolina and one international. Howell, of Waynesville, and Ellis R. Parlier, 19 of Midland, were killed. Those wounded were Sean Dehart, 20, and Drew Pescaro, 19, both of Apex; Emily Houpt, 23, of Charlotte; and Rami Alramadhan, 20, of Saihat, Saudi Arabia.
Terrell had been enrolled at the school but withdrew this semester, UNC-Charlotte spokeswoman Buffy Stephens said. Campus Police Chief Jeff Baker said Terrell had not appeared on their radar as a potential threat.
"I just went into a classroom and shot the guys," Terrell told reporters while smirking Tuesday as officers led him handcuffed into a law enforcement building.
The alleged gunman is scheduled to appear in court Thursday afternoon to face charges, including murder and attempted murder.
Fox News' Nicole Darrah and The Associated Press contributed to this report.