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But Terrell never showed any interest in guns or other weapons, and the news he may have been involved in a mass shooting was stunning, said Rold, who had not heard about the Charlotte attack before being contacted by an Associated Press reporter.

Riley Howell, 21, was among the students gathered for end-of-year presentations in an anthropology class at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte when a gunman with a pistol began shooting students.

UNC Charlotte Chancellor Philip Dubois said, "The entire UNC Charlotte community shares the shock and grief of this senseless, devastating act". Dubois also said he reached out to the families of both men and told them the university would do "everything we can to lift them up over the hard days, weeks, and months ahead", according to WTVD.

CMPD officers in four marked police cars escorted the vehicle with Howell's body to his hometown of Waynesville on Thursday morning. When asked if he viewed Howell as a hero, his soccer coach said, "Yes".

Dubois said: "UNC Charlotte can not be and will not be defined by this tragedy", he said. He meant to pursue a major in Computer Science and become a game developer. He died, along with another student, 19-year-old Ellis Parlier.

The father of Howell's longtime girlfriend, Kevin Westmoreland, described him as someone who "would step in front of a train for her if he had to".

Police are unsure what could have motivated Terrell to carry out the attack and said they had no reason to consider him a potential threat, reported CBS News.

The four injured students were Rami Alramadhan, 20, of Saihat, Saudia Arabia; Emily Houpt, 23, of Charlotte; and Apex, NC, residents Sean Dehart, 20, and Drew Pescaro, 19.

According to its website, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte has more than 26,500 students. "I didn't realize it might come to that for somebody else".

Terrell is under observation in police custody, and his father and attorney haven't been allowed to speak to him, his grandfather Paul Rold said.

Suspect Trystan Andrew Terrell had been enrolled at the school but withdrew this semester, UNC-Charlotte spokeswoman Buffy Stephens said.

Television station WBTV quoted the remark as: "I just went into his classroom and shot the guy".

This was his first year at the university and, as were many other students, Howell was attending the term's final day of classes on Tuesday.

At the apartment complex where the suspect lived, residents watched as police entered a unit believed to be his and stayed for hours.

The defendant faces charges including murder, and attempted murder. He said resources are being offered to UNC students and staff as they grieve the loss and recover from the trauma of the shooting. "In the coming days we will take a hard look at all of this to see what we need to do going forward".

"He was a bright student, very likeable", Nolte said in a phone interview.

The campus remained on lockdown for hours as a familiar scene replayed at the latest shooting in the United States.

Around 10 p.m., police and university officials gave permission for students and faculty to leave campus.

Howell's decision to fight for the lives of others fit his character, Belnap said Wednesday at a candlelight vigil on campus the night after the shooting. "It's a 9-11, it's a Kennedy assassination, it's a Challenger disaster, it's a death of a family member kind of moment", said Tricia Kent, an archivist who has spent 33 years at the school.

"He was super fit, always the one who was showing all the kids things, he drove the boat at the lake house", she said.