Riley Howell, 21, will be buried with full military honors, according to Wells Funeral Homes in Waynesville, North Carolina.
Howell was killed after tackling 22-year-old Trystan Andrew Terrell in an attempt to end his mass shooting spree. The shooting resulted in one other fatality, and several were seriously wounded.
Terrell has been charged with two counts of murder, attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, and firearms offenses. Many more deaths and injuries would have likely occurred without Howell’s sacrifice.
“Absolutely, Mr. Howell saved lives,” Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney said at a news conference this week, according to reporting by a local Fox News affiliate. He added that Howell “did exactly what [they] train people to do.”
A petition on WhiteHouse.gov to bury the brave ROTC cadet with full military honors already has more than 35,000 signatures at the time of this writing. The petition reads:
Riley Howell, 21, died while tackling the gunman of the UNCC campus shooting on April 30. 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.
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 the Riley be given a burial with full military honors.
“While kids were running one way, our son turned and ran towards the shooter,” his mother, Natalie Henry-Howell, told NBC’s Today 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.”
She is “beyond proud” of her son and his ultimate sacrifice. Many parents of students at UNC Charlotte will, no doubt, echo those sentiments this week.