HERO: UNCC Shooting Victim Riley Howell to Be Buried With Full Military Honors Today

Crowds line the streets to pay their respects as law enforcement officers escort the body of UNCC shooting victim and hero Riley Howell home in Waynesville, NC - 5/2/19. Screen grab via WBTV News.
The body of Riley Howell escorted home.
Crowds line the streets to pay their respects as law enforcement officers escort the body of UNCC shooting victim and hero Riley Howell home in Waynesville, NC – 5/2/19. Screen grab via WBTV News.

21-year-old Riley Howell, whose actions saved lives in Tuesday’s deadly mass shooting at UNC Charlotte, will be laid to rest today in North Carolina with full military honors.

Charlotte’s WCNC reports:

The UNC Charlotte student who tackled a shooter on campus earlier this week will be buried with full military honors.

The announcement was made Friday afternoon at a rally in uptown where students and activists gathered to raise awareness about gun violence.

Howell was an ROTC cadet and had considered a military career.

The day after the shootings, a petition was started to have Howell buried with full military honors. It stated:

Riley Howell, 21, died while tackling the gunman of the UNCC campus shooting on April 30. He was one of 2 students killed and 4 wounded, but there may have been many more victims had Riley not rushed the gunman and tackled him.

Riley was an ROTC cadet and would have served his country. Instead, he died saving the lives of his classmates.

For his heroism, we ask the Riley be given a burial with full military honors.

The petition needed 100,000 signatures by May 31st in order to get a response from the White House. As of this writing, it has gotten almost 67,000.

Wells Funeral Home has confirmed to multiple media outlets that he will be buried with full military honors:

According to the funeral home, the ROTC made the decision to bury Howell with military honors.

Lt. Col. Chunka Smith, who runs the university’s ROTC program, said he was unable to discuss the funeral plans out of respect for the Howell family, but said the Army and National Guard “will ensure that Riley Howell is properly recognized for his heroism.”


In an emotional moment, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney said on Wednesday during a press conference that Howell’s actions saved lives, and that he was the “first and foremost hero” from Tuesday:

Howell’s body was escorted home by law enforcement on Thursday from Charlotte to Waynesville, North Carolina. All along that route, which is about a two and a half hour drive, first responders and civilians paid their respects to Howell:

Every single overpass and every single entrance ramp from Charlotte to Waynesville had both first responders and civilians carrying American flags, holding up signs and standing with their hands over their hearts, said Waynesville Police Chief Bill Hollingsed, whose officers were part of the motorcade.

“I was getting messages all yesterday and last night from agencies that wanted to show their respect,” Hollingsed said. “Our sole intention was to escort Riley home, but every single jurisdiction along the way was there. People are very caring. When they hear things like this and the story of what Riley did, it touches them. He is truly a hero.”

The tribute in Waynesville included hundreds of individuals — both who knew the family and who didn’t — who lined the approach to Wells Funeral Home Thursday.


A public memorial service will be held at 5:00 pm today in the Stuart Auditorium, Lake Junaluska, NC.

Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX-2), a Navy SEAL who lost his eye during an IED explosion in Afghanistan in 2012, paid tribute to Howell in a tweet Saturday:

A verified GoFundMe page has been started for Howell’s family.


Howell was one of two students who died that day. The other one was 19-year-old Ellis “Reed” Parlier.

Four other students were injured in the attack: 19-year-old Drew Pescaro, 20-year-old Sean Dehart, 20-year-old Rami Alramadhan, and 23-year-old Emily Houpt.

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.–


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