Star Wars fan who died tackling UNC Charlotte shooter has been honoured as a Jedi
The Star Wars fan who died tackling the UNC Charlotte shooter has been honored as a Jedi.
Riley Howell tragically lost his life on April 30 at the age of 21 when he tackled the UNC Charlotte shooter, an act which undoubtedly saved the lives of many of his fellow students, who were at risk when Trystan Andrew Terrell entered their classroom wielding a gun.
According to police, Howell took Terrell "took the assailant off his feet," as per Buzzfeed News, which is what enabled them to take him down.
This news report reveals the true heroism of Riley's actions:
The attack left Howell and his fellow student 19-year-old Ellis "Reed" Parlier dead, with police stating that Howell's actions "saved lives," but "unfortunately [he] had to give his life to do so."
In a statement issued after his death, his family said: "He loved Star Wars, birds, cards, snowboarding, going to the lake, Kentucky Hot Browns cooking from scratch with cast iron while listening to the Feel Good Classic Soul playlist, and his Lauren. He could also put away a pizza."
According to Howell's girlfriend of almost six years, Lauren Westmoreland, while Howell received countless tributes after his death, none have been more fitting than the most recent one.
In a TikTok video on Monday, she revealed that he had been honored in a new Star Wars book, but she didn't know just how incredible it was until she got a message from one of their old teachers on Saturday, as per Buzzfeed News.
"He was like, 'Hey, is this just a weird coincidence, or is this supposed to be real?'" she said. "I looked at it and read the little excerpt - and it was Ri-Lee Howell, Jedi Master."
"I was just totally overwhelmed with happiness, because I know how happy it is making Riley," she said. "It's this thing I know he would have always wanted. Little kid Riley would love it, and adult Riley would love it just as much."
It was no secret that Howell loved Star Wars and grew up watching the movies. The first hint of what was to come came shortly after his death in May, when his family received a letter from Lucasfilm, requesting permission to use his name in an upcoming book.
"They say he's a historian and he's preserved these Jedi texts," she said. "I think he was so analytical and knew everything there was to know about every little detail of Star Wars. They couldn’t have picked a better character to make him."
"I think he deserved it, because I think he deserves the world," she added.
We'd like to take this opportunity to offer our continued condolences to Howell's friends and family.