The former student, whom authorities identified as Trystan Terrell, 22, apparently targeted the Kennedy building, where the shooting took place, police said.
“We know there was some familiarity with that building in particular,” Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney told reporters on Wednesday, declining to elaborate. “The choice of that building was by design. It was intentional.”
Just before 6 p.m. Tuesday, gunshots erupted as students waited for rapper Waka Flocka Flame’s concert and others prepared for exams later in the week.
“Run, Hide, Fight,” the university tweeted after it received calls on the shooting at the Kennedy building. “Secure yourself immediately!”
Sophomore Joshua Ayers, 20, was in the classroom when the shooter entered. The liberal studies class has about 100 students, but only about 30 were on hand Tuesday for final presentations, one of which was underway when the shooting began, he said.
“All of a sudden, the door on the north side of the room slams open. A guy rushes in, pulls up a gun with his right hand … and began firing at the far north corner table,” Ayers said. “He didn’t speak a word — just ran in and started shooting.
“Almost immediately, people start diving away. … People started rushing for the door,” he said.
was killed but not before he charged the gunman, his aunt, Morgan Howell Moylan, told CNN on Wednesday, recounting the police account to the family. He was shot point-blank trying to thwart the attack, she said.
“He did such a heroic thing,” Moylan said. “It was absolutely no surprise. In fact, I have four children who so look up to him. Every one of them said, ‘Of course, he was the hero — 100% of course he’d run toward the shooter.’ He was everybody’s protector. You felt safe when you were with Riley.”
Terrell was taken into custody without incident. As police led him away in handcuffs, he tilted his head back and smiled at the cameras.
Terrell is facing two counts of murder, four counts of attempted murder, four counts of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill and one count each of possession of a firearm on educational property and discharging a firearm on educational property, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department said.
He is being held without bail and is scheduled to make his first court appearance at 1 p.m. Thursday.
“We, all of us, everyone in this community, stands in shock and grief,” Charlotte Mayor Vi Alexander Lyles told reporters.