Family of UNC Charlotte shooting victim Riley Howell 'beyond proud' of heroic actions attacking gunman

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."

In this Sept. 1, 2017 photo provided by Matthew Westmoreland, Riley Howell, right, is seen.

In this Sept. 1, 2017 photo provided by Matthew Westmoreland, Riley Howell, right, is seen. (Matthew Westmoreland via AP)

UNCC SHOOTING VICTIM RILEY HOWELL 'SAVED LIVES' BY TACKLING GUNMAN, POLICE SAY

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.

Riley Howell, 21, was fatally shot on Tuesday when a gunman opened fire on the campus of theUniversity of North Carolina at Charlotte, police said.

Riley Howell, 21, was fatally shot on Tuesday when a gunman opened fire on the campus of theUniversity of North Carolina at Charlotte, police 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.

David Belnap, a sophomore at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, displays a t-shirt in Charlotte, N.C., Wednesday, May 1, 2019, in support of Riley Howell, a classmate who was killed while confronting a gunman inside a classroom on Tuesday.

David Belnap, a sophomore at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, displays a t-shirt in Charlotte, N.C., Wednesday, May 1, 2019, in support of Riley Howell, a classmate who was killed while confronting a gunman inside a classroom on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Skip Foreman)

UNC CHARLOTTE SHOOTING VICTIMS IDENTIFIED, AS SUSPECT SEEN SMIRKING WHILE IN CUSTODY

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.

Trystan Andrew Terrell was arrested on charges of murder and attempted murder after he opened fire on students at University of North Carolina-Charlotte on Tuesday.

Trystan Andrew Terrell was arrested on charges of murder and attempted murder after he opened fire on students at University of North Carolina-Charlotte on Tuesday. (Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office/AP)

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.

CLICK HERE FOR THE FOX NEWS APP

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.