RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Students at N.C. State are struggling to come to grips as the university's sister campus is grappling with a tragedy.
There is a sign illuminating on N.C. State's campus offering support to the UNC-Charlotte family. It says #NinerStrong.
Several dozen students and staff members gathered for a vigil on Thursday.
"It hits home for all of us," N.C. State's Student Body President Emma Carter said before the crowd as her voice started cracking.
There was a moment of silence and candle lighting for the victims.
"As a community, we grieve for those who have been directly impacted and those who have been impacted in any way by this senseless tragedy. I know that you've come today because we're all trying to make sense of this and honestly, I can't," said Chancellor Randy Woodson.
Riley Howell lost his life tackling the alleged shooter. His courageous, selfless act is being credited for saving others.
Howell is being hailed a hero and ABC11 is learning his sister is a student right now at N.C. State.
"It's really, really sad," said student Jeannie Pfeiffer. "That someone next to you in class could be going through something so difficult."
Freshman Briana Witcher goes to N.C. State and is from the Queen City.
She was texting people she knows at UNC-Charlotte on Tuesday making sure they were alright.
Her heart is breaking for friends back home and her classmate in Raleigh.
"I'm going to pray for her. Honestly, prayers is what everyone needs right now," she said.
NC State stands in solidarity with UNC Charlotte