UNC Charlotte students remember victims from deadly shooting on campus

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WTVD) -- Students at UNC Charlotte set up a vigil on the steps of the Kennedy Building on campus in memory of 21-year old Riley Howell and 19-year old Ellis Parlier, the two students killed during Tuesday's shooting.

"It could have been anyone, anywhere," said senior Taylor White, as she walked by the vigil.

Students, parents and faculty dropped off flowers, signs, and candles throughout the day. Many were visibly overcome by the sight, wiping away tears as they paid their respects.

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Tejashri Arote, a graduate student, takes a course at the same time and in the same class - but on Monday's. On Tuesday, she was in the library when she heard of the news.

"After two hours, we were escorted by the SWAT team. So one of the men from the library department had given us shelter in one of the rooms, so we had basically turned off the lights and the furniture and all was towards the door. It was the scariest two hours of my life," Arote said.

As she approached the vigil, her mind shifted to the Howell and Parlier families.

READ MORE: All stories on the UNC Charlotte shootings

"It's really overwhelming. And for the families who have lost ... I don't know really what they must be going through," Arote said.

UNC Charlotte Chancellor Philip Dubois said the school's faculty approved degrees in memoriam for both men. 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 difficult days, weeks, and months ahead."

Both Arote and White are hoping for greater steps to prevent further tragedies from happening, with Arote calling on lawmakers to take action to enhance student safety on campus, and White sharing her desire to become an advocate for the NAACP to combat gun violence.

"It hurts. Because I've dealt with people -- this happening all the time especially from my hometown in Wilmington. I've had a lot of friends that have just gotten killed from gun violence," said White, who had a friend die Wednesday night in an unrelated shooting near the campus.

On Thursday, 22-year old Trystan Terrell, the shooting suspect, waived his right for first appearance.
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