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UNC Charlotte shooting suspect had withdrawn from class that was attacked

The 22-year-old Charlotte man accused of killing two people and shooting four others Tuesday at UNC Charlotte faces two counts of murder and is scheduled to appear in Mecklenburg County Court on Thursday afternoon, jail records show.

Trystan Andrew Terrell, a former student, was arrested on the UNCC campus in north Charlotte by Charlotte-Mecklenburg police after six people were shot inside a classroom. Police said Terrell was quickly apprehended after officers responded to an “active shooter” around 5:42 p.m. He had been a student in the class, but later withdrew, according to two sources.

Two students who were killed were identified by the university as Ellis Parlier, 19, of Midland, and Riley Howell, 21, of Waynesville. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney said Howell tackled Terrell during the shooting, preventing him from killing or injuring more people.

UNCC also said four students were injured: Rami Alramadhan, 20, of Saihat, Saudia Arabia; Sean Dehart, 20, of Apex; Emily Houpt, 23, of Charlotte; and Drew Pescaro, 19, of Apex.

In addition to two counts of murder, Terrell is charged with four counts of attempted first-degree murder, four counts of assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury, one count of having a gun on education property and one count of discharging a firearm on education property, police records show.

As of Wednesday afternoon, investigators had not released a possible motive in the shootings.

The Associated Press reported Terrell moved to Charlotte from Texas with his father in 2014.

He was armed with a handgun during the shootings, Putney said Wednesday afternoon. He said investigators have concluded the gun used during the shooting had been purchased lawfully.

Terrell remained in custody after being booked in the Mecklenburg County Jail at about 5 a.m. Wednesday. It is Terrell’s first arrest in North Carolina, according to a review of state records.

He had attended Central Piedmont Community College from fall 2015 through spring 2018, according to a college spokeswoman. He was studying to get his associate’s degree in science.

More recently, Terrell was a student at UNCC.

Cooper Creech, a junior at UNCC, told the Observer he shared a class with Terrell and about 100 other students this year — the same classroom where police say Terrell unleashed gunfire on Tuesday. His transcript confirmed that Terrell had been in the class and later withdrew, according to a source who had reviewed his transcript.

Terrell was enrolled in three UNCC classes this semester before withdrawing, according to the source.

Apartment investigation

Terrell’s voter registration records show he listed an apartment address on Weddington Avenue, off East Seventh Street in Charlotte. But on Tuesday night, after the shooting, about 10 Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officers arrived at Novel NoDa, apartments in the North Davidson Avenue neighborhood, on East 36th Street.

Several residents told the Observer on Tuesday night that Terrell lived in one of the apartments, on the third floor. Around 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, residents said, CMPD officers began evacuating some people from the third floor of Novel NoDa. Police on the scene did not confirm whether Terrell lived there. Later, CMPD said officers went to the apartments, following up on a tip.

Officers conducting the investigation at Novel NoDa wore bulletproof vests and one witness described officers inside the apartment building as being on the SWAT team.

In the apartment complex parking lot, officers also encountered and appeared to take into custody one person, who arrived around 8:45 p.m., in a black car. Putney said that person was not arrested.

Officers appeared to have their guns drawn, according to a cellphone video from the incident, provided from a Novel NoDa resident to the Observer late Tuesday night. The Observer could not identify the driver of the car.

Public records list Terrell’s father, 55-year-old Craig Andrew Terrell, at an address for Novel NoDa apartments in Charlotte. Another family member, who identified herself as Terrell’s step-grandmother, told a reporter for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in Texas that Terrell’s father asked all family members on Wednesday not to speak to news reporters about his son’s arrest or life.

City of Charlotte employee information published online shows a person named Craig Andrew Terrell has worked as an accountant for the city government, as an internal auditor, since moving from Texas in 2014. A city spokesperson on Wednesday confirmed a person by that name is an employee but said she could not confirm that Craig Terrell is related to Trystan Terrell.

According to a review of public records by The Charlotte Observer, Craig Andrew Terrell and Trystan Terrell have previously shared the same addresses in Charlotte and in Texas. The elder Terrell is a certified public accountant in North Carolina, listed on his professional license registration as working for the City of Charlotte, public records show. Craig Terrell appears not to have had any arrests or criminal charges.

Murders on campuses

The latest data available from the federal Department of Education show 65 people were murdered on U.S. college and university campuses between 2015 and 2017.

During that time, North Carolina campuses saw five killings, including three in 2017. Those deaths happened at UNC-Chapel Hill, North Carolina A&T State University and Western Carolina University.

Fort Worth Star-Telegram Gordon Dickson contributed.