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Family of student killed in UNCC shooting opens up to Channel 9

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Today, the University of North Carolina Charlotte's campus is busy with students, but the tragedy of April 30 constantly lingers in our minds.

Last spring, a gunman opened fire inside a classroom at UNCC killing Reed Parlier and Riley Howell as well as injuring four others.

[Two young men tragically lost their lives at UNCC: Here's what we know about them]

The Parliers said they are a private family, but they invited Eyewitness News Anchor Allison Latos into their home to talk about their pain, their memories and now, how they plan to honor Reed.

Reed, who was a sophomore at UNCC, felt more comfortable living at home than on campus, but on April 30, he never made it home.

"Reed didn't get a chance," his mother Julie Parlier said. "He was shot first, multiple times, and I hope he didn't know what was happening. I just never thought out of all those students that Reed would be one of them."

(Reed Parlier)

Trying to cope with their incredible loss meant facing the daily challenge of a "new normal."

"Something as simple as walking into a grocery store and passing food that I would always purchase, for him specifically, that I don't put in my cart anymore," Julie Parlier said.

For Reed's sister, Mallory Parlier, just trying to be a high school student was hard.

"If two random kids are fighting in the hall, it horrifies me," Mallory Parlier said. "I'm like 'What are they about to do? Are they just yelling at each other or are they about to pull out a gun and shoot each other?'"

The family said they hope those difficult triggers will someday subside, but Reed's memory is present everywhere in the Parlier home, including his bedroom, which is exactly as he left it the day of the shooting.

Julie Parlier said his clothes are hung up and his desk still holds the computer he built, where he enjoyed his passion for video games.

She said his ashes are also placed in a chair in his bedroom.

[CLICK HERE to donate to Reed Parlier Scholarship Fund]

"He had a cable that ran from our router up to his room, and I cussed at it daily, but it broke my heart to take it down," his father Brian Parlier said. "It still seems surreal at times, most of the time."

The Parliers said they are pushing through their heartache to celebrate their son and brother, in simple and sincere ways.

"He always wore, from an infant, one sock on a foot, and the other foot no sock and my mother would come over and ask 'Reed, where is your sock?' and he would make up a story about how it sent it to outer space or it was on a secret mission."

A single sock now sits by Reed's photo and a small sign in their yard reads "Heroes wear only one white sock."

Outside, the Parliers have created a memorial garden full of stepping stones, hand painted by Reed's family and friends.

[SPECIAL SECTION: UNCC shooting]

"His name, Angel Wings," Julie Parlier said. "I always called him my sunshine."

More tributes to Reed are yet to come -- two scholarships will help students pursue degrees in computers, gaming and technology.

  • An annual, renewable, full ride 4-year scholarship will go to a student from Reed's high school -- Central Academy of Technology and Arts in Monroe
  • Another scholarship will help UNCC seniors through their final year

"These scholarships will help those seniors make that last push and graduate," Julie Parlier said.

Helping others achieve Reed's dreams is his family's way of celebrating Reed, who would have turned 20 on Wednesday.

"He wouldn't have wanted the notoriety, but he would have wanted to help," Brian Parlier said.

There will be a golf tournament to raise money for the Reed Parlier Scholarships on Oct. 21 at Pine Lake Golf Club in Mint Hill.

While the tournament is sold out, they are still looking for sponsors and donations for the auction.

For more information on the tournament, click here.

You can learn more about how to get involved or donate by clicking here.

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