The ROTC cadet who sacrificed his life to stop the UNC Charlotte gunman will be buried with military honors

Unsung Heroes

(Reuters) - The slain student hailed as a hero for tackling a gunman during last week's shooting at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNCC) will be buried on Sunday with full military honors.

Twenty-one-year-old Riley Howell was one of two students killed on Tuesday when a shooter opened fire with a handgun inside a classroom full of nearly 50 students. Four other students were injured.


The gunman, who authorities identified as former UNCC student Trystan Andrew Terrell, 22, has been charged with two counts of murder and four counts of attempted murder.

"The North Carolina National Guard will conduct military funeral honors today for cadet Howell. This action is approved by the adjutant general under state orders," said Wells Greeley of Wells Funeral Homes in Waynesville, North Carolina.

Howell, an environmental studies student, was a cadet with the Army Reserve Officer Training Corps. An online petition calling for him to receive a full honors military burial drew more than 33,000 signatures.

An obituary posted on the funeral home's website described Howell as adventurous, passionate about life and all living things. He loved "anything Star Wars" and would have lightsaber fights in the yard with his younger brother Teddy.

"Riley died the way he lived, putting others first. Our hope is that his example resonates with everyone," the obituary read. "We hope his example of loving, living large, being kind always and finding laughter in the little things will be remembered as Riley's gift to us all."

SEE ALSO: Switzerland Has A Stunningly High Rate Of Gun Ownership — Here's Why It Doesn't Have Mass Shootings

Riley Howell (T.C. Roberson High School via New York Times)
(Courtesy of Jackie Melendrez)

Editor's Note: The following story highlights a veteran at Iron Mountain. Committed to including talented members of the military community in its workplace, Iron Mountain is a client of Hirepurpose, a Task & Purpose sister company. Learn more here.

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.

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