As I reported to you last night, there was a deadly mass shooting in my hometown of Charlotte on the campus of UNC-Charlotte in their Kennedy building.
Two people were pronounced dead at the scene, and there are four other victims – 3 of who were critically injured. One of the victims is Drew Pescaro, a sports writer for the student-run Niner Times newspaper.
Pescaro is in stable condition after surgery and his family is asking for people to use the hashtag #DrewStrong when writing about him on social media.
The two students who were murdered were identified this morning:
Chancellor Phillip Dubois said on WBT that the two students who were killed were 19-year-old Ellis Parlier, of Midland, and 21-year-old Riley Howell, of Waynesville.
The suspect in the deadly shootings has been identified as 22-year-old Trystan Terrell, a former history major at the university:
Terrell was a history major at UNCC and was most recently enrolled at the university in fall 2018, the same semester he transferred to the school, according to the university’s advising system called Connect.
Terrell, who was born in Texas, is a registered voter in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, according to his voter registration records.
According to the Associated Press, Terrell’s grandfather, Paul Rold of Arlington, Texas, said Terrell and his father moved to Charlotte from the Dallas area about two years ago after his mother died.
Terrell taught himself French and Portuguese with the help of a language learning program his grandfather bought him and was attending UNC-Charlotte, Rold said. But Terrell never showed any interest in guns or other weapons and the news he may have been involved in a mass shooting was stunning, said Rold, who had not heard about the Charlotte attack before being contacted by an Associated Press reporter.
Here’s video of Terrell as he was escorted into Charlotte-Mecklenburg police HQ last night:
UNCC shooting suspect, Trystan Terrell, being walked into CMPD headquarters. pic.twitter.com/FrfRU4qovP
— Michael Stolp (@StolpWSOC9) May 1, 2019
The shooter’s motive is not yet known. He provided a full confession to police investigators, according to local news reports.
More information is coming in about how the suspect was armed and what happened inside the building:
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.
According to the Niner Times, one student who had interacted with Terrell in the past did not have a good feeling about him:
Nick Brooks, 22, hid for over two hours in the Panda Express kitchen on campus. He said he was taking a study break at the fountain outside of Kennedy building when he saw the suspect, someone he recognized from riding the light rail, walk into Kennedy. Seconds later, he heard shots fired.
“It was like, ‘pop, pop, pop,’ and that’s when we all started to lay on the ground,” he said. “You could feel the vibration. I don’t know if it was just, like, nerves. You could just feel it in your chest.”
He said a student came running out of the building, yelling about an active shooter. It was then that Brooks got up, grabbed his backpack and sprinted to Cone building where a group of roughly 35 people had gathered. “I’ve never run that fast in my life,” he said.
Brooks said he had a strange feeling about Terrell, and he remembered an odd interaction with the suspect at a NoDa apartment complex. “He was in the elevator and the doors were closing and he was just staring at me,” Brooks said. “You could tell something was up with him. It’s like he had no emotions.”
Flags will be lowered to half-staff across the state through Friday to honor the victims:
.@NC_Governor has ordered all North Carolina flags at state buildings, grounds and facilities to be lowered to half-staff, effective immediately, and through sunset on May 3, to honor the victims of Tuesday's tragedy at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. pic.twitter.com/HdEdGIyxW1
— NC Human Resources (@Work4NC) May 1, 2019
NOW: Flags being lowered to half-staff on #UNCC’s campus. It’s such a somber feeling on campus. I haven’t seen any students or staff out and about just yet. My heart hurts for everyone impacted by yet another senseless shooting. @wcnc #WakeUpCLT pic.twitter.com/UnNpXGw54e
— Billie Jean Shaw (@BillieJeanTV) May 1, 2019
There have been a lot of questions surrounding the university’s policy on bringing weapons on campus. Here’s UNC-Charlotte’s weapons policy, which is in accordance with North Carolina law.
Please continue to keep the victims, their families, the students, campus, and the city of Charlotte in your thoughts and prayers.
—Sister Toldjah is a former liberal and a 15+ year veteran of blogging with an emphasis on media bias, social issues, and the culture wars. Read her Red State archives here. Connect with her on Twitter.–