UNCC shooting hero’s family to receive special honor in his name

BOSTON — It’s been nearly two and a half years since a deadly shooting at UNC Charlotte claimed the lives of Reed Parlier and Riley Howell.

On Thursday, Howell’s family will travel to Boston to receive a special honor in their son’s name.

The Congressional Medal of Honor Society will give Howell’s family the “Single Act of Heroism Award.”

Only two people in the nation receive the honor each year. Those who are selected “exemplify the values embodied in the Medal of Honor: courage, sacrifice, commitment, integrity, citizenship, and patriotism.”

On April 30, 2019, a gunman opened fire inside a classroom in the Kennedy building at UNCC. Four students who were wounded survived the attack.

Police said it could have been much worse had Howell not jumped on the gunman during the shooting, sacrificing his own life to save others.

Our partners at WLOS in Asheville spoke with Howell’s father about the honor.

“Every time I think that this is sometimes a little much for me -- it’s not about me. It’s not about us. It’s about him -- so I always go through these things with gratitude and thankfulness,” Thomas Howell said.

The Citizen Honors Valor award ceremony will be held on Friday. It will recognize recipients for 2020 and 2021, since last year’s ceremony was delayed because of COVID-19 concerns.

THE SOCIETY’S STATEMENT ON RILEY:

“Riley Howell of Waynesville, NC, selected for his courageous act when he shielded students from a gunman during an incident at the University of North Carolina - Charlotte. Riley Howell did not survive the attack, but he is attributed with saving the lives of many students.”

(WATCH BELOW: Riley Howell first citizen to receive CMPD Medal of Valor)