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'We feel their pain' : Community rallies after mass shooting at UNCC
Support after assailant kills 2, injures 4
 
Published Wednesday, May 1, 2019 8:16 pm
by Ashley Mahoney | The Charlotte Post

PHOTO | ASHLEY MAHONEY
A makeshift memorial at the UNC Charlotte prospector statue paid respects to students killed and wounded by a lone assailant April 30 on campus. Two students were killed and four others injured.

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Mecklenburg County is not immune to gun violence on campus.

The second fatal school shooting of the 2018-19 academic year took place Tuesday at UNC Charlotte when 22-year-old former student Trystan Andrew Terrell was charged with killing students Riley Howell of Waynesville and Ellis “Reed” Parlier of Midland. Students Drew Pescaro, 19, and Sean DeHart, 20, of Apex, 20-year-old Rami Alramadhan of Saihat, Saudia Arabia and 23-year-old Charlottean Emily Houpt were wounded in the attack on Kennedy Center Room 236.

In October, Butler High School student Jatwan Cuffie, 16, was arrested for the shooting death of fellow student Bobby McKeithen, 16.

“I was able to visit with Drew, Emily and Rami [in the hospital], surrounded by their families, as is Sean, I am told, who did not require hospitalization,” said UNCC Chancellor Philip Dubois.

Said student body President Chandler Cream: “Yesterday’s tragedy was the saddest day in UNC Charlotte’s history.”

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department Chief Kerr Putney called Howell a “hero” at a press conference earlier. Howell disarmed the assailant, sacrificing himself to save others.

“His sacrifice saved lives,” said Putney of the 21-year-old.

Students organized a candlelight vigil at Halton Arena, where sections 201-212 in the 9,105-seat stadium were closed, as well as sections 230-233. Several attendees stood. The vigil began with the national anthem and presentation of colors. It also consisted of statements from Dubois and Cream, song, a moment of silence, a prayer from junior Micheala Brewer and a statement from senior Makala Carrington. Attendees were then directed toward the Star Quad and West Quad to light remembrance candles. People began chanting “49ers” as they filed out of the arena, and sang the school’s alma mater.

“Tonight the Senior Class Council put on this vigil,” Brewer said. “I got involved when my Bible study [The Example] asked if we could simply say a prayer for comfort, joy and peace to be restored back on campus.”

Brewer’s prayer called for love, saying, “let us love one another, as love heals everything.” She was outside of the student union when she heard the news.

“My friend came saying there was shooting on campus,” Brewer said. “We ran through the student union. We ran through the bridge, and we ran to the safest place that we knew, which was our residence halls.”

Numerous elected officials attended the vigil, including Gov. Roy Cooper, Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles, U.S. Rep. Alma Adams and county Commissioner George Dunlap.

“It’s extremely important for community leaders to be here on campus today to show support for our students,” said Dunlap who earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from UNC Charlotte in 1989 and 2003. “They are a part of our family, and being an alumnus twice, it strikes hard at me. I think about the times when I was on campus. I couldn’t have imagined something like this happening. We felt that it was important that we be with the students who are grieving in their own ways, and who are having difficulty dealing with this tragedy. We wanted to let them know that we care about them, that we are concerned—we feel their pain.”

Word about the shooting spread rapidly, as Charlotte-Mecklenburg NAACP President Corine Mack, who attended the vigil, was informed when UNCC chapter students texted her about it. They were on campus preparing for the Waka Flocka Flame concert, which was canceled.

Mack experienced a mix of emotions, anticipating that the storm of mass shootings sweeping the nation would eventually touch down on a college campus in Charlotte.

“I didn’t think we would be excluded from what’s been happening all over the country,” Mack said. “We’ve been doing Stop the Violence rallies for about three-four weeks. I expected something bad to happen. I didn’t know when, but I knew it would happen.”

The American Red Cross provided counseling following the vigil, and with commencement on May 10, seniors as well as their classmates have limited time to process the shooting before leaving campus for summer break.

“I would hope that we would start some healing clinics for all those who are traumatized,” Mack said. “Right now, some people are just very numb. They don’t realize the deep trauma they are in. Many of them are about to leave Charlotte and go on with their lives.”
Mack also stressed the importance of acknowledging violence across the city, not just at UNCC.

“It’s important that we are honest about what’s happening here in Charlotte,” Mack said. “There is a rise in violence, specifically in the black community that has not been addressed. Today, we are talking about violence, because white people were involved, and that’s sad. People are just people. We have to stop the division. We have to stop the bias. We have to stop the racism and the implicit bias. We have to look at the lives in this city, and all over this country, and find ways to come back to our humanity and our civility. I am very concerned with the rise in violence. I am very concerned with the lack of respect for one another and the lack of civility. I’m even more concerned that a young 22-year-old man would believe in his heart of hearts that the only way to resolve an issue, a disagreement, a concern, is with a gun.”

Comments

We need to stay Prayed up, I am sorry that this happen to our UNCC Charlotte Campus students, Please Pray for the Families, also Pray to Stop the Evil Times in Charlotte and around the World. God Bless
Posted on May 6, 2019
 

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