CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Those who truly knew Riley Howell will all say the same thing.
"He always was able to put others before himself and never hesitated to help anyone who needed it."
So when a gunman walked into his classroom at UNC Charlotte late Tuesday evening and opened fire, officials said Riley sacrificed himself to save his peers.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney saidRiley was fatally shot while attempting to physically confront and stop the shooter.
Chief Putney said Riley's sacrifice saved lives. Blocked inside a classroom, Putney said Riley had no option to run or hide, so he fought.
"He took the fight to the assailant. Unfortunately, he had to give his life to do so, but he saved lives doing so," Putney said about Riley. "He took the assailant off his feet, and the heroes that we have here were able to apprehend from there."
"Mr. Howell saved lives."