Howell, 21, was posthumously awarded the Citizen Medal of Valor during an awards ceremony for Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officers. Greeted by a standing ovation, his parents and girlfriend accepted the award from the department, WCNC-TV reported.
“What Riley did in that class was extraordinary,” one officer said during the presentation. “As a police department, as a community, as a city, as a nation, we wanted to recognize this act”
Terrell is charged with murder, attempted murder and assault.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney said earlier this month that Howell’s actions allowed enough time for the first officer to get to the classroom and capture Terrell, an act that also likely saved other students' lives. Police hailed Howell as a hero soon after the deadly attack.
A ongoing petition requests that Howell, an ROTC cadet, be given a burial with full military honors. As of Wednesday, it had 36,168 of the 100,000 signatures needed for the White House to respond.