North Carolina

Corn maze honors ‘hero’ UNC Charlotte student killed in campus shooting

A student hailed a “hero” for his actions during a shooting at UNC Charlotte is getting a new recognition: one big enough to span an entire field, a business says.

Riley Howell, 21, was killed April 30 after he pinned down a gunman who opened fire on campus. Police say his actions helped to save lives.

One other student died and four were injured during the shooting, which rattled the university just days before graduation.

Now, Howell is getting the honor of having a North Carolina corn maze designed in his likeness.

An aerial photo shows a field with the crops organized in the shape of Howell’s face, according to a post on the Cold Mountain Corn Maize Facebook page. Also visible from the air are the words “Riley Howell” and “hero,” the photo shows.

A North Carolina corn maze includes an image of a UNC Charlotte shooting victim, a photo shows. Screengrab from the Cold Mountain Corn Maize Facebook page

Howell is from Waynesville, a town roughly 8 miles from the Canton corn field. Waynesville is in western North Carolina, about 30 miles west of Asheville.

“This year is a tribute to our hometown hero,” Cold Mountain Corn Maize posted in June, when the plants appeared to barely poke through the soil.

Also this fall, the business says it’s hosting a corn hole competition, with profits going toward the Riley Howell Foundation. Its fund benefits groups that help gun violence victims, according to the foundation website.

The UNCC gunman pleaded guilty to murder last week.

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