Crime & Courts

UNC Charlotte shooter ‘targeted a specific table of people,’ witness told police

Who are the UNCC shooting victims?

On April 30, 2019 a shooter killed UNCC students Riley Howell and Ellis Reed Parlier. Drew Pescaro, Sean DeHart, Rami Al-Ramadhan and Emily Houpt were all injured.
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On April 30, 2019 a shooter killed UNCC students Riley Howell and Ellis Reed Parlier. Drew Pescaro, Sean DeHart, Rami Al-Ramadhan and Emily Houpt were all injured.

The accused UNC Charlotte shooter “walked towards a particular table and began to fire at the people seated there,” a witness told police after the April 30 attack that killed two students and left four injured.

The statement was quoted in a search warrant affidavit Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police filed hours after the shooting in a UNCC classroom. A magistrate granted the warrant to search the apartment of Trystan Andrew Terrell, who was taken into custody at the scene. He was indicted this week on murder, attempted murder and assault charges.

The affidavit offers new details on the shooting itself, which CMPD Chief Kerr Putney said last week had appeared not to target specific people. It gives this account:

A UNCC campus police officer, Sgt. Richard Gundacker, entered room 236 of the Kennedy Building after responding to a 911 call about a shooting. He found several people in the room and “yells to the occupants of the room and asks them (to) tell him who was shooting,” it says.

“At that time a subject in the room identified himself as the shooter. That person, Trystan Andrew Terrell, is taken into custody and a Glock firearm is recovered. A black leather bag located on Mr. Terrell’s person contained multiple gun magazines.”

One witness, Joshua Ayers, told police he had been in the room to make a presentation when “a male subject slammed the door open and produced a pistol,” the affidavit says.

“Mr. Ayers stated that the subject walked towards a particular table and began to fire at the people seated there. At that point everyone began to flee the classroom. It was apparent to Mr. Ayers that the subject targeted a specific table of people.”

Students in the classroom have described the quiet classroom, in which teams were giving final presentations on the last day of spring classes, quickly turning to chaos as the gunfire rang out.

Terrell appeared to tell TV cameras as he was being led into CMPD headquarters that “I just went into his classroom and shot the guy.” Investigators have not publicly revealed a suspected motive for the attack.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police searched a third-floor unit at the Novel Noda apartments on East 36th Street a few hours after the shooting, the search warrant shows. Officers seized from the apartment a laptop, paper targets, three handgun magazines, six boxes of ammunition and a magazine loader, it says.

Students Reed Parlier, 19, of Midland, and Riley Howell, 21, of Waynesville, were fatally shot. Police said Howell had tackled the shooter, taking him off his feet and saving other lives.

CMPD officers lead suspected UNCC gunman into police headquarters April 30, 2019. Subtitles show what suspect appears to say after being asked, "what happened?"

Staff writer Jane Wester contributed.

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