CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - A suspect has been charged with killing two people and injuring four others in a shooting on the University of North Carolina-Charlotte (UNCC) campus Tuesday evening. CMPD identified the suspected shooter as 22-year-old Trystan Terrell.
Terrell was charged with two counts of murder, four counts of attempted murder, four counts of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, possession of firearm on educational property and discharging firearm on educational property.
According to sources, Terrell made a full confession to investigators during his questioning at CMPD.
University officials identified the victims killed in the shooting as 21-year-old Riley C. Howell of Waynesville, NC and 19-year-old Ellis R. Parlier of Midland, NC. The four injured in the shooting were identified by officials as 20-year-old Rami Alramadhan of Saudia Arabia, 20-year-old Sean Dehart of Apex, NC, 23-year-old Emily Houpt of Charlotte, and 19-year-old Drew Pescaro of Apex, NC.
According to UNC Charlotte officials, Terrell enrolled at UNC Charlotte in Fall of 2018 and withdrew on Feb. 14, 2019.
The shooting happened around 5:40 p.m. An alert sent by UNCC Emergency Management said shots were reported near the Kennedy Hall building. The alert told students to “Run, Hide, Fight. Secure yourself immediately. Monitor email and emergency.uncc.edu.”
Medic confirmed two people were killed in the shooting. They said three other victims with life-threatening injures and one more with non-life threatening injuries were rushed to Carolinas Medical Center.
Only one of the people injured in the shooting had been publicly identified ahead of Wednesday. UNC Charlotte’s student-run newspaper, Niner Times, said that sports writer Drew Pescaro was one of those shot.
The newspaper said Pescaro was out of surgery and stable as of Tuesday night.
On Wednesday, the school’s chancellor released the names of the victims in the shooting.
During a press conference Tuesday evening, campus police said once they got reports of a suspect armed with a pistol that had shot several students multiple officers immediately went into the building, disarmed the suspect and took him into custody. There is no word on what transpired during that confrontation.
“We also at the same time - simultaneously - secured the entire campus. We were able to lock it down through a system that we utilize and we can simply press one button and lock down the majority of campus,” said UNC Charlotte Police Chief Jeff Baker. “We were able to deploy all of the security systems that we have in place to notify the university that we did have an active shooter on campus at this time, urging the community to shelter in place immediately.”
“I can’t tell you the sadness of the entire community to know that a situation like this has occurred on our campus,” Baker said. “We are all pretty much devastated to know anything like this.”
Baker added CMPD and the Charlotte Fire Department were on the scene and ready to assist almost immediately.
Multiple social media posts from students on campus showed emergency personnel rushing students out of buildings as first responders went in.
Other students took shelter as the alerts were coming out. One student said she and others barricaded themselves inside a classroom, locking the door with a belt, until police arrived to get them out.
“We just sat there and waited,” she said, “and it was quiet and it was scary - it was terrifying. We didn’t really know anything that was going on.”
Monifa Drayton, Assistant Vice President of Medical Staff Services at Atrium Health, said she was walking into the building where the shooting happened to teach a class when she heard shots and saw students running toward her. She and another man began leading the students to a nearby parking deck.
“They were absolutely petrified. The children were absolutely petrified,” Drayton said. “And I also sat and waited with a gentleman whose girlfriend, her name’s Zara, she was in the library. And at that point the library doors had been shot out and she was in there barricaded. So I sat with him. He was very, very worried but she came out OK. So, she’s still shaken up.”
Officers swept the campus after the shooting. At approximately 7:45 p.m., CMPD said the scene was secure and there was no reason to believe anyone else was involved.
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.
UNC Charlotte police say when dispatch got the call for the shooting, officers raced over and they simultaneously locked down the campus and were able to catch the suspect immediately. The lockdown was later lifted Wednesday morning almost 12 hours after the shooting.
Police and fire began searching the campus and escorting students off, detectives began the investigation.
Police told WBTV they rushed to the the suspect’s house on East 36th Street in Charlotte.
WBTV was at CMPD headquarters as he was walked inside.
Students were directed to 8600 University City Boulevard to be reunited with their families.
“This is the saddest day in UNC Charlotte’s history," UNC Charlotte Chancellor Philip L. Dubois said in a message in response to the shooting.
“The entire UNC Charlotte community shares the shock and grief of this senseless, devastating act. This was an attack on all of Niner Nation,” Dubois added. “The days ahead will be some of the most challenging we have ever encountered. All I can say for certain is that we will get through them together.”
UNC Board of Governors Chair Harry Smith and UNC System Interim President Bill Roper issued a joint statement in response to Tuesday’s shooting:
“We are devastated to learn of the act of violence that occurred earlier on the campus of UNC Charlotte, and our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families. The University of North Carolina System stands in solidarity with UNC Charlotte and stands ready with assistance for the students, faculty, and staff affected."
NC Governor Roy Cooper said the events were tragic, and he commended first responders and their quick actions.
Mayor Vi Lyles sent a statement on Twitter about the shooting. She said she was in shock to hear the horrible news.
Congressman Richard Hudson, who represents NC’s 8th District, also released a statement about the shooting just before 7 p.m.
“Renee and I are heartbroken to see this violence in our community and at my alma mater,” said Hudson. “We are grateful for the quick and selfless action of first responders and police. Our thoughts and prayers are with victims, their families, and the entire 49er community. I will continue to monitor the situation and pray for the safety of all on campus.”
The university said just before 8 p.m. that all scheduled activities were canceled as the campus was still on lockdown. They later said that all final exams were canceled through Sunday.