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Thread: Chief: Police came in minutes to deadly N. Carolina campus shooting

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    Chief: Police came in minutes to deadly N. Carolina campus shooting

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - The Latest on a shooting at a North Carolina university campus (all times local):

    9 p.m.

    A North Carolina university police chief says officers arrived within minutes to the room in a campus building where a shooting happened, disarming the gunman.

    University of North Carolina-Charlotte Police Chief Jeff Baker said that a call came in at 4:40 p.m. Tuesday that a suspect armed with a pistol had shot several students.

    Baker said officers were able to apprehend and disarm the suspect in the room where it happened. He declined to release the suspect's name.

    Baker says his officers saved lives with their speed.

    He said two people were killed, and three remained in critical condition. He said a fourth person's injuries were less serious.


    7:50 p.m.

    Police say a suspect is in custody in a fatal campus shooting that killed two people and injured four.

    The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department said in a statement on Twitter Tuesday evening that one person is in custody and no one else is believed to be involved.

    Police at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte were going through campus buildings to tell anyone still sheltering in place that the scene is secure.

    The Mecklenburg Emergency Medical Services Agency has said two people were found dead at the scene, two others have life-threatening injuries and two others have injuries that are not life-threatening.


    7 p.m.

    Emergency medical officials say two people are dead and four injured in a shooting at a North Carolina university.

    Mecklenburg Emergency Medical Services Agency said on Twitter that two people were found dead at the scene, two others have life-threatening injuries and two others have injuries that are not life-threatening.

    UNC Charlotte issued a campus lockdown on Tuesday after reports that shots had been fired. It's unclear whether the victims are students or whether a suspect is in custody.

    Aerial shots from local television news outlets showed police officers running toward a building, while another view showed students running on a campus sidewalk.


    6:30 p.m.

    A North Carolina university has issued an alert for students to remain in a safe location following reports of an apparent shooting.

    UNC Charlotte issued a campus lockdown on Tuesday after reports that shots had been fired.

    Aerial shots from local television news outlets showed police officers running toward a building, while another view showed students running on a campus sidewalk.

    It was not immediately clear whether anyone had been shot or whether a suspect was in custody. School officials couldn't be reached for immediate comment Tuesday evening.

    The campus was to host a concert at the school's football stadium.

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    The two students killed were Ellis Parlier, 19, of Midland, North Carolina; and Riley Howell, 21, of Waynesville, North Carolina, UNCC Chancellor Phillip Dubois told WBT News. Drew Pescaro, 19, Sean Dehart, 20, Rami Al-Ramadhan, 20, and Emily Houpt, 23, were injured, he also told WBT.

    UNCC Chancellor Phillip Dubois says on WBT the students killed are:

    Ellis Parlier, 19, of Midland, NC
    Riley Howell, 21, Waynesville, NC

    Three of the injured were in critical condition Tuesday night, UNC Charlotte Police Chief Jeff Baker said. One other had non-life-threatening injuries. All of the injured are students, officials said. The two deceased were found dead at the scene, Mecklenburg Emergency Medical Services Agency said on Twitter.

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    An Update on the Suspect

    CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -A suspect has been charged with killing two people and injuring four others in a shooting on the University of North Carolina-Charlotte (UNCC) campus Tuesday evening. CMPD identified the suspected shooter as 22-year-old Trystan Terrell.

    Terrell was charged with two counts of murder, four counts of attempted murder, four counts of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, possession of firearm on educational property and discharging firearm on educational property.

    The suspected shooter Trystan Terrell is facing multiple charges including two counts of murder and four counts of attempted murder

    According to sources, Terrell made a full confession to investigators during his questioning at CMPD.

    Sources say that last semester, Terrell withdrew from all but one of his classes. Sources say it was that class - Anthropology - that he went to in the Kennedy Hall building armed with a pistol.

    The shooting happened around 5:40 p.m. An alert sent by UNCC Emergency Management said shots were reported near the Kennedy Hall building. The alert told students to “Run, Hide, Fight. Secure yourself immediately. Monitor email and”

    Medic confirmed two people were killed in the shooting. They said three other victims with life-threatening injures and one more with non-life threatening injuries were rushed to Carolinas Medical Center.

    The newspaper said Pescaro was out of surgery and stable as of Tuesday night.

    Niner Times
    Our sports writer Drew Pescaro was one of those shot tonight. He is out of surgery and stable. The full support of the Niner Times staff is behind him in his recovery. #DrewStrong

    8:53 PM - Apr 30, 2019
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    On Wednesday, the school’s chancellor released the names of the victims in the shooting.

    [ Chancellor identifies victims in deadly UNC Charlotte shooting ]

    During a press conference Tuesday evening, campus police said once they got reports of a suspect armed with a pistol that had shot several students multiple officers immediately went into the building, disarmed the suspect and took him into custody. There is no word on what transpired during that confrontation.

    UNCC Police Chief discusses active shooter
    “We also at the same time - simultaneously - secured the entire campus. We were able to lock it down through a system that we utilize and we can simply press one button and lock down the majority of campus,” said UNC Charlotte Police Chief Jeff Baker. “We were able to deploy all of the security systems that we have in place to notify the university that we did have an active shooter on campus at this time, urging the community to shelter in place immediately.”

    “I can’t tell you the sadness of the entire community to know that a situation like this has occurred on our campus,” Baker said. “We are all pretty much devastated to know anything like this.”

    Baker added CMPD and the Charlotte Fire Department were on the scene and ready to assist almost immediately.

    Multiple social media posts from students on campus showed emergency personnel rushing students out of buildings as first responders went in.

    Other students took shelter as the alerts were coming out. One student said she and others barricaded themselves inside a classroom, locking the door with a belt, until police arrived to get them out.

    “We just sat there and waited,” she said, “and it was quiet and it was scary - it was terrifying. We didn’t really know anything that was going on.”

    Embedded video

    Coleen Harry WBTV

    More: #BreakingNews @unccharlotte that moment when you have to barricade in a classroom @WBTV_News

    4:58 PM - Apr 30, 2019
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    Monifa Drayton, Assistant Vice President of Medical Staff Services at Atrium Health, said she was walking into the building where the shooting happened to teach a class when she heard shots and saw students running toward her. She and another man began leading the students to a nearby parking deck.

    “They were absolutely petrified. The children were absolutely petrified,” Drayton said. “And I also sat and waited with a gentleman whose girlfriend, her name’s Zara, she was in the library. And at that point the library doors had been shot out and she was in there barricaded. So I sat with him. He was very, very worried but she came out OK. So, she’s still shaken up.”

    Officers swept the campus after the shooting. At approximately 7:45 p.m., CMPD said the scene was secure and there was no reason to believe anyone else was involved.

    Police say the suspect went into the Kennedy building on UNC Charlotte’s main campus - armed with a pistol.

    Sources say witnesses told investigators that he started shouting and began shooting randomly - not at specific targets.

    UNC Charlotte police say when dispatch got the call for the shooting, officers raced over and they simultaneously locked down the campus and were able to catch the suspect immediately. The lockdown was later lifted Wednesday morning almost 12 hours after the shooting.

    Police and fire began searching the campus and escorting students off, detectives began the investigation.

    Police told WBTV they rushed to the the suspect’s house on East 36th Street in Charlotte.

    WBTV was at CMPD headquarters as he was walked inside.

    VIDEO: Suspected UNC Charlotte shooter taken into CMPD headquarters
    Students were directed to 8600 University City Boulevard to be reunited with their families.

    Amanda Foster WBTV

    Seeing emotional moments as families and loved ones are finally reuniting with their UNCC students, after hours of waiting. @WBTV_News

    6:08 PM - Apr 30, 2019
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    “This is the saddest day in UNC Charlotte’s history," UNC Charlotte Chancellor Philip L. Dubois said in a message in response to the shooting.

    “The entire UNC Charlotte community shares the shock and grief of this senseless, devastating act. This was an attack on all of Niner Nation,” Dubois added. “The days ahead will be some of the most challenging we have ever encountered. All I can say for certain is that we will get through them together.”

    UNC Board of Governors Chair Harry Smith and UNC System Interim President Bill Roper issued a joint statement in response to Tuesday’s shooting:

    “We are devastated to learn of the act of violence that occurred earlier on the campus of UNC Charlotte, and our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families. The University of North Carolina System stands in solidarity with UNC Charlotte and stands ready with assistance for the students, faculty, and staff affected."

    NC Governor Roy Cooper said the events were tragic, and he commended first responders and their quick actions.

    Governor Roy Cooper

    This is a tragic day for Charlotte and this great university. We mourn the lives lost and we will all be here to support each other. I commend the first responders for their quick action and am grateful that the campus is now secure.

    5:49 PM - Apr 30, 2019
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    Mayor Vi Lyles sent a statement on Twitter about the shooting. She said she was in shock to hear the horrible news.

    Mayor of Charlotte

    We are in shock to learn of an active shooter situation on the campus of UNC Charlotte. My thoughts are with the families of those who lost their lives, those injured, the entire UNCC community and the courageous first responders who sprang into action to help others.

    4:39 PM - Apr 30, 2019
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    Congressman Richard Hudson, who represents NC’s 8th District, also released a statement about the shooting just before 7 p.m.

    “Renee and I are heartbroken to see this violence in our community and at my alma mater,” said Hudson. “We are grateful for the quick and selfless action of first responders and police. Our thoughts and prayers are with victims, their families, and the entire 49er community. I will continue to monitor the situation and pray for the safety of all on campus.”

    The university said just before 8 p.m. that all scheduled activities were canceled as the campus was still on lockdown. They later said that all final exams were canceled through Sunday.

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    Here is Trystan Terrell family responding to the mass shooting in North Carolina.

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    Rip to a Hero

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. — In an alert that flashed across computer and phone screens all over campus, the instructions were spare but urgent: “Run, Hide, Fight. Secure yourself immediately.”

    But Riley Howell could neither run nor hide. The gunman was in his classroom. So, the authorities said, he charged at the gunman, who had already fired several rounds, and pinned him down until police officers arrived.

    “But for his work, the assailant may not have been disarmed,” Chief Kerr Putney of the Charlotte-Mecklenberg Police Department said of Mr. Howell, who was shot in the process and among six victims of a mass shooting at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte campus Tuesday evening. “Unfortunately, he gave his life in the process. But his sacrifice saved lives.”

    On Wednesday, students and teachers were still reeling from the attack that left two students, including Mr. Howell, dead and four others injured. Chief Putney said the death toll could have been far worse had Mr. Howell, a 21-year-old former high school soccer goalie, not intervened.

    “He is my hero,” said Mr. Howell’s girlfriend of nearly six years, Lauren Westmoreland, who said she was overcome with grief. “But he’s just my angel now, as well.”

    The police identified the gunman as Trystan Andrew Terrell, 22, and said he had been charged with two counts of murder and four counts of attempted murder. The authorities said the handgun used in the shooting had been purchased legally.

    [The suspect’s motive was not known. Read more about why his grandfather says he should never had been allowed to own a gun.]

    Chief Putney declined to discuss the suspect’s motive and also would not say whether any of the students in the crowded classroom had been targeted. But, he said, the building was familiar, and the choice to focus on it “intentional.”

    Students said Mr. Terrell had attended classes at U.N.C. Charlotte, but also said that he appeared to have disappeared from classes in recent months.

    The attack Tuesday evening was the latest in a string of mass shootings at educational institutions across the country that have left parents, police and school administrators grappling with how to stanch the violence. It came, too, on the heels of an attack at a California synagogue last weekend and the recent 20th anniversary of the Columbine shootings.

    The shooting punctured what had been a celebratory graduation week at one of the largest schools in the University of North Carolina system, a leafy, often sun-drenched campus built on old farmland about 10 miles northeast of uptown Charlotte. About 30,000 students attend classes in its red brick buildings.

    On Tuesday, the final day of classes, students were looking toward exams and graduation. LBST 2213, a class that examines the anthropology and philosophy of science, was scheduled to meet at 5:30 p.m. in Kennedy Hall.

    Adam Johnson was teaching, and his students were planning to give group presentations. According to a description of the class, the students had spent the semester examining critical philosophical questions, such as: What is science? What is evolution?

    Miranda Finch, 20 and a sophomore, sat at a large circular table, watching a group presentation about the galaxy. Her group, which had planned to deliver a talk on lobotomies and electric shock, was next.

    Then she heard three loud pops. She said she wasn’t sure what the sound was — she had never before heard a gunshot.

    She hadn’t heard anyone come into the classroom, so she wasn’t sure whether the attacker entered quietly or just stood up from the table closest to the door.

    But there he was, pointing a gun.

    “I looked at him,” she said, “and the gun was aimed at my table and at me.”

    Tristan Field, a 19-year-old sophomore, said the gunman began shooting about 10 minutes into class. It was quiet, he said, until violence broke out and people began to scream and run away.

    Mr. Field said it was the silence beforehand that stood out to him the most on Wednesday. “Only the presentation video was playing, and then suddenly, shots and chaos,” he said.

    One bullet grazed a cheek of Ms. Finch’s friend. Another boy at their table slumped on the floor. Then a bullet hit a third person. Three of the four people wounded in the shooting had been sitting at that table, about 20 feet from the door, Ms. Finch said. They were all in her group, waiting to give their presentation.

    Ms. Finch and her friend crawled behind a table. For a moment, she said, she crouched there, terrified that the gunman would come looking for them.

    Ms. Finch didn’t notice Mr. Howell lunge at the gunman, but she said it could have happened while she was ducking behind the table. The next thing she knew, the gunman was lying on the floor.

    “That was the weird thing,” she said. “He just came in and shot, and then he stopped shooting, and then he didn’t say a word at all.”

    Ms. Finch and her friend ran out of the classroom and into a building across the street. Ms. Finch’s friend sat down inside, crying.

    “She asked me to look at her hip, and when I looked, it was the first time I had ever seen it, it was definitely a gunshot wound,” Ms. Finch said. She applied pressure until help arrived. And then she went home covered in blood.

    Mr. Field was also among those who ran away. In a tweet after the ordeal, he tried to process what had happened. “Why here?” he wrote. “Why today? Why U.N.C. Charlotte? Why my classroom? What did we do?”

    The six people who were killed or wounded were all students at the university, officials confirmed. In addition to Mr. Howell, of Waynesville, N.C., Ellis R. Parlier, 19, of Midland, N.C., also was killed.

    Mourners attend a vigil at the Halton Arena one day after a shooting on the University of North Carolina at Charlotte campus.CreditTravis Dove for The New York Times
    Mr. Howell had considered a career in the military or firefighting before enrolling at the university, where he was an environmental studies student. In a statement, his parents said he was a fearless athlete with a sturdy frame who relished a challenge, “whether it be jumping from the highest cliff into the water below or power lifting competitions at the gym.”

    “Once committed to something,” they said, “he never gave up, never gave in, and gave everything he had.”

    Mr. Parlier, who was known as Reed, graduated in 2017 from the Central Academy of Technology and Arts, a magnet high school in Monroe, N.C., where he studied computer technology, according to a spokeswoman for the Union County Public Schools. He aspired to develop video games. In his free time, he tutored Charlotte middle school students.

    The university identified the injured students as Sean DeHart, 20, and Drew Pescaro, 19, both of Apex, N.C.; Emily Houpt, 23, of Charlotte; and Rami Alramadhan, 20, of Saihat, Saudi Arabia. Three remained hospitalized Wednesday evening.

    The attack came during a particularly turbulent decade for Charlotte, North Carolina’s largest city and a banking hub hit hard by the Great Recession. Over the last 10 years, it has seen a mayor resign over corruption charges, rioting over a police officer’s killing of a black man, and been at the center of a political battle over transgender rights.

    In a news conference, the city’s mayor said that over the years, she has heard mayors across the country talk about the impact of mass shootings in their cities. On Wednesday, it was her turn.

    “We know a tragedy like this can divide a community or bring us together,” said Mayor Vi Lyles, a Democrat. “It is our choice of how we move forward.”

    On Wednesday, the university — typically lively and festive — felt “dull and emotionless,” said Devin Chase Martin, 23, a student who had attended a history class with Mr. Terrell but did not know him personally. At an evening vigil, about 7,500 people, mostly students, packed into Halton Arena, where the 49ers play basketball, to grieve. Gov. Roy Cooper and other state and local officials attended.

    Some students, unsure how the attack was unfolding Tuesday, spent hours hiding in classrooms before they realized they were safe. They, too, spent Wednesday recovering.

    Philip L. Dubois, the university’s chancellor, said the school would continue with graduation ceremonies that are scheduled to begin this weekend. One of the students who was injured, Ms. Houpt, is among those set to graduate, and Mr. Dubois said she would cross the stage.

    But final exams were canceled until Monday morning, he said, adding that the school would be flexible with students who might not be ready to study and take tests.

    Before the attack, Wednesday had been set aside as a study day to prepare for exams. Normally, the school’s library and student union would have been “bustling to cram for exams,” said Brooke Davidson, 19. Yet both buildings felt virtually deserted.

    “There is a sense of somber — of sadness here,” she said.

    Ulani Robinson, 19, a freshman, was still recovering from the three-plus hours she said she spent cowering in a dark classroom with other students on Tuesday.

    That night, she said, “we slept only because our bodies made us sleep.”

    “I tossed and turned,” she added, “but my mind never rested.”

    Correction: May 1, 2019
    An earlier version of this article misspelled two of the wounded students’ surnames, based on preliminary information from the radio station that interviewed the university chancellor. The students are Emily Houpt (not Haupt) and Rami Alramadhan (not Alramatin).

    Correction: May 1, 2019
    An earlier version of this article misstated how Paul Rold, a grandfather of the shooting suspect, described his grandson’s attitude toward guns to The Associated Press. Mr. Rold told the agency that his grandson had never shown an interest in guns or other weapons, not that he knew him to be a weapons enthusiast.

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