The scene has become all to familiar. Another mass shooting on the grounds of a college campus. This time it was the University of North Carolina in Charlotte.
But in this case, the outcome was forever changed because of the heroic efforts of one, proud and outstanding young man, 21 year old Riley Howell.
It happened in a flash.
Riley Howell came face-to-face with the mass killer.
The next move would determine everything.
What would you do?
Do you run from the spray of bullets?
Do you run towards the gunman?
Do you freeze in the panic of the moment
Riley Howell made the decision to rush the shooter to stop him. He effectively tackled the killer and “took the fight to the assailant” and “took the assailant off his feet,” confirmed Chief of Police Kerr Putney of Charlotte. If it wasn’t for what Howell did, he said the assailant “may not have been disarmed.” The gunman killed two students and injured four on the Charlotte campus.
“Unfortunately he gave his life in the process, but his sacrifice saved lives,” says Putney.
The Next Leap Forward
With the outpouring of love and tens of thousands that signed a WhiteHouse.gov petition, Howell was buried with full military honors.
The petition had a request for military honors and read like this: “Riley was an ROTC cadet and would have served his country. Instead, he died saving the lives of his classmates. For his heroism, we ask the Riley be given a burial with full military honors.”
Defining the path to Heroism
1 Giving selflessly, when the odds are against you
2 Knowing there is RISK involved, but doing it anyways
3 A split moment decision that changes everything
4 The instinct to protect those around you
5 You would do it all over again, if you had to
Riley has touched all of us in ways that most will never do. His purpose at just 21 years old was unexpectedly redefined in that moment. If Riley had lived to the age of 93, he probably would have never experienced a moment like that again. Riley Howell defines the word hero.