When a mass shooting erupted on the campus of University of North Carolina at Charlotte on Tuesday, Army ROTC cadet Riley Howell sprang into action.
Finding himself face to face with the armed gunman in his classroom, the 21-year-old Howell tackled and restrained the shooter until police could arrive.
The gunman, 22-year-old Trystan Terrell, left two dead and four injured on the Charlotte campus, including Howell.
"He was the kind of person who you knew would take care of you the moment you met him, and he always did," Howell's family said in a statement. "He radiated love and always will."
Law enforcement officials say that without Howell's heroic sacrifice, the death toll would likely have been higher.
"But for his work, the assailant may not have been disarmed," Charlotte-Mecklenberg Police Department Chief Kerr Putney told the New York Times of Howell. "Unfortunately, he gave his life in the process. But his sacrifice saved lives."
Lt. Col. Chunka Smith, head of UNC Charlotte's ROTC program, praised Howell's decisive action.
"I would tell you, he stood out," she told CBS News "As a soldier, we understand what it means to make the ultimate sacrifice."
At a candlelight vigil on Wednesday evening, Howell's friend David Belnap arrived wearing a T-shirt with "Riley Howell is a hero" emblazoned on the back.
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(Associated Press/Skip Foreman)
"It seems very much like something he would do," he told the Associated Press of Howell. "I want that to be his legacy, that he lost his life to protect those he cared about."
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Jackie Melendrez couldn't be prouder of her husband, her sons, and the fact that she works for the trucking company Iron Mountain. This regional router has been a Mountaineer since 2017, and says the support she receives as a military spouse and mother is unparalleled.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A 40-foot-tall (12 meters) cross-shaped war memorial standing on public land in Maryland does not constitute government endorsement of religion, the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday in a decision that leaves unanswered questions about the boundaries of the U.S. Constitution's separation of church and state.
The justices were divided on many of the legal issues but the vote was 7-2 to overturn a lower court ruling that had declared the so-called Peace Cross in Bladensburg unconstitutional in a legal challenge mounted by the American Humanist Association, a group that advocates for secular governance. The concrete cross was erected in 1925 as a memorial to troops killed in World War One.
The ruling made it clear that a long-standing monument in the shape of a Christian cross on public land was permissible but the justices were divided over whether other types of religious displays and symbols on government property would be allowed. Those issues are likely to come before the court in future cases.