Charlotte, NC – Two people were killed, and four more were wounded, when a University of North Carolina (UNC) Charlotte history student opened fire on his fellow students during the last day of classes on Tuesday.
Video from the scene has come out showing officers sprinting towards the shooting (video below).
Three of the four wounded victims remained in critical condition on Wednesday morning, CNN reported.
The incident began near the UNC Charlotte Kennedy Building at approximately 5:45 p.m. on April 30, as many of the university’s 30,000 students were preparing for their final exams or gathering for an on-campus Waka Flocka Flame concert scheduled for that night.
Student Tristan Field said he was in the classroom when the gunman, later identified as 22-year-old UNC Charlotte history student Trystan Andrew Terrell, opened fire on his classmates, CBS News reported.
He estimated that Terrell had been sitting among the other students in class listening to a presentation for approximately 10 minutes prior to the attack.
“All of a sudden, without warning, no one yelled, no nothing. This gun started ringing out,” Field recounted.
Approximately 50 students all rushed to the two doorways leading out of the room, as Terrell fired at them with a pistol, CNN reported.
“It was absolute panic,” Field told CBS News. “A chair fell in front of the door, so people were tripping over that, like, trying to climb over it.
“Some people fell down. It was like water through a funnel, but it wasn’t fast enough,” he said.
Chris Neal was in a nearby building when the shooting occurred, and witnessed the mass exodus from the classroom.
“They came flying out of the building, were jumping the brick wall, running all different ways,” Neal said.
Bullets riddled the doors to the campus library, and students barricaded themselves inside to keep Terrell out, CNN reported.
Law enforcement officers were already on campus in preparation for the concert, and immediately rushed towards the gunfire.
They were able to identify which room the shooter was firing from, then disarmed him and took him into custody.
“We were able to get to the building and… our officer immediately went to the suspect to take him down,” UNC Charlotte Police Chief Jeff Baker told CBS News.
Terrell smiled up at the sky and at nearby reporters as he was being led away in handcuffs, but said nothing during his arrest, CNN reported.
“Right now, he is not somebody [who] was on our radar,” Chief Baker said.
Terrell first enrolled at the university in the fall of 2018, but withdrew from all of his classes except anthropology the next semester, KKTV reported.
It was the same class he attacked on Tuesday.
Terrell has been charged with four counts of attempted murder, two counts of murder, possession of a firearm on educational property, four counts of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, and discharging a firearm on educational property, CBS News reported.
“I can’t tell you the sadness of the entire community to know that a situation like this has occurred on our campus,” Chief Baker said. “We are all pretty much devastated.”
UNC Charlotte Chancellor Philip Dubois called the shooting the “saddest day in UNC Charlotte’s history.”
“The unthinkable happened on our campus,” Dubois said in a statement to CNN. “An individual opened fire in a UNC Charlotte classroom, cutting short the lives of two members of our community and seriously injuring four others.”
The chancellor said the identities of the two students murdered during the attack will be released once their families have been notified.
One of the victims wounded in the attack has been identified as campus newspaper sports writer Drew Pescaro, the Niner Times said in a tweet.
“He is out of surgery and stable,” according to the post.
The campus remained locked down for hours after the shooting as law enforcement officers cleared buildings and ensured there were no other suspects.
“The FBI is on scene and assisting the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department and other law enforcement partners at UNC Charlotte in the aftermath of an on-campus shooting,” Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Charlotte Special Agent in Charge John Strong told WTVD.
“The FBI is prepared to provide any resource needed as the investigation continues to determine exactly what led to this tragic loss of life in our community,” Agent Strong added.
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) are also handling the investigation.
“I am proud of and grateful for the efforts of UNC Charlotte Police and Public Safety, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, and other emergency officials,” Dubois said, according to WTVD.
“The suspected shooter is in custody and lives were saved thanks to their rapid response,” he continued. “Their work on campus will continue over the next several hours. Students and staff on campus should follow the instructions of law enforcement officials.”
Final exams, which were scheduled to begin on Thursday, have been canceled through the end of the week.
An on-campus vigil has been scheduled for Wednesday, WTVD reported.
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said he will do everything he can to help the university students and their families.
“A student should not have to fear for his or her life when they are on our campuses,” Cooper said. “Parents should not have to worry about their students when they send them off to school.”
“I know that this violence has to stop,” he added. “In the coming days we will take a hard look at all of this to see what we need to do going forward.”