UNCC Identifies Victims In Campus Shooting

May 1, 2019
Originally published on May 23, 2019 11:06 am

Updated: Friday at 2:45 p.m.

Friends and family members remembered the two students killed in Tuesday’s shooting UNC Charlotte – 19-year-old Ellis Reed Parlier of Midland, and 21-year-old Riley Howell of Waynesville.

Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney said Wednesday that Howell charged the shooter in the classroom, helping save lives.

On Wednesday, friends of Parlier's family gathered at the family’s home on Cabarrus Station Road. Close friends also gathered at Matthews Presbyterian Church.

Luke Mabry, the church’s pastor, said co-workers of Parlier’s mother – who is a speech pathologist – organized the meeting.

“We wanted to support the mother’s work community,” he said. “They are a very close knit community of speech pathologists in Union County Schools and we wanted to support her to support them.”

Marby also said something has to change.

“I’ve preached on every school shooting that we have and I’m tired of preaching on school shootings. Somehow we as a community has to come together to stop this. We can’t resign ourselves to it and can’t give in to despair.”

Four students were wounded in the shooting: 19-year-old Drew Pescaro and 20-year-old Sean DeHart, both of Apex; 20-year-old Rami Al-Ramadhan, of Saudi Arabia; and 23-year-old Emily Houpt, of Charlotte.

Here's what we know about them:

Ellis "Reed" Parlier was one of the students killed in the shooting. His parents, Brian and Julie Parlier, told the Associated Press that their son was kind and quiet, with a witty sense of humor. They said he was studying IT software development and had hopes of becoming a game developer.

Before attending UNCC, Parlier graduated from the Central Academy of Technology and Arts where he was on the Information Technology track. 

HIs father said he was a "math man" and was exceptionally bright. Brian Parlier said he remembered meeting his son's math teacher, who was surprised by how advanced his son's math skills were at such a young age.

"He already knew his multiplication tables because I had been teaching him those at dinner since he was two, and she did not believe me," Brian Parlier said. "So I asked him ten multiplication problems in front of her, and he answered all of them correctly. And she was dumbfounded."

He also said his son was exceptionally funny at a young age. 

"When he was 2 years-old, he was telling complex jokes," his father said. "He'd blend into the background and all of a sudden he'd make some witty remark about what was going on that would just take you by surprise."

Julie Parlier said her son loved to hike and camp, and was close with is family — especially his younger sister.

Riley Howell, the other person killed in the shooting. Charlotte-Mecklenburg police Chief Kerr Putney said Howell tackled the shooter and that "but for his work, the assailant may not have been disarmed. Unfortunately, he gave his life in the process. But his sacrifice saved lives."

The Howell family released a statement to WSOC-TV Wednesday, saying he was a "one of a kind guy." Part of the statement read:

"He loved all things outdoors, adventure, and especially family. He loved to work outside and when he worked, he did it with his hands and his heart. He always was able to put others before himself and never hesitated to help anyone who needed it. He was friends with anyone and everyone — a big muscular guy with a huge heart." 

Howell was a graduate of T.C. Roberson High School in Asheville, North Carolina. 

Tristen Plemmons, an English teacher at T.C. Roberson, said Howell's passing was "heart-wrenching." Plemon said:

"The violent and tragic passing of Riley Howell has touched the lives of everyone in our community. How could it not? I remember precisely where Riley sat in my classroom. I remember our conversations. I remember Riley's enthusiasm for life, infectious smile, and bright-eyed amiability. He was as easy to love as he so easily loved others."

Howell was active in sports. He played soccer and ran cross-country. Andrew Devine was his cross country coach. Devine said Riley joined the team his senior year. Devine added:

"As I reflect on his character I remember that he was bright, independent, kind, and optimistic;  he had a special affinity for the outdoors; his hallmarks were a big grin and a carefree spirit; and, his teammates loved and respected him. It was a privilege to be his coach.”

Howell was an environmental studies major at UNCC, according to Chancellor Dubois. 

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Drew Pescaro, who was wounded in the attack, graduated from Middle Creek High School in Apex and is a communications major at the university. He is a sportswriter for the student newspaper the Niner Times, which tweeted Tuesday night to say that he was out of surgery and is stable. According to his Facebook page, Pescaro is also a video assistant with the 49ers football team, and co-hosts a sports talk show called “Fans With Attitude.” Pescaro is also a member of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity.

Sean DeHart graduated from Cardinal Gibbons High School in Raleigh and is a member of the class of 2021. According to his Facebook page, he is originally from Shelton, Connecticut, and is an avid Yankees fan. The team’s logo is set as his current profile picture. 

Greenville News said DeHart was treated and released from the hospital Tuesday. 

Rami Al-Ramadhan is a freshman student from Saihat, Saudi Arabia, a city located on the east coast of the country.

He is studying engineering. Al-Ramadhan is also an aspiring photographer, according to his Twitter feed, which is filled with photos he has taken of UNCC’s campus. Chancellor Dubois said that Al-Ramadhan's father is on his way from Saudi Arabia to be with him.

Emily Houpt is a global studies major at UNCC who would like to become a human rights advocate, according to her LinkedIn page. She is an intern at The Worlds Affairs Council of Charlotte and also works at a local Trader Joe’s. 

One of Houpt’s former professors, Beth Whitaker, posted on Facebook that Houpt was released from the hospital Wednesday and is “asking everyone to vote in the next election and donate to March for Our Lives.”

A vigil for the victims is planned on campus Wednesday at 6 p.m.

Clarification: The report has been changed to clarify that police have not said Riley Howell disarmed the shooter. But Chief Putney did say Howell tackled him and saved lives doing so. 

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