Skip to content
NOWCAST WESH 2 News at 6
Watch on Demand
Advertisement

Family of student who died protecting classmates speaks out following Star Wars tribute in his honor

Lucasfilm honored Riley Howell with character named after him in newest publication

Family of student who died protecting classmates speaks out following Star Wars tribute in his honor

Lucasfilm honored Riley Howell with character named after him in newest publication

Hide Transcript Show Transcript
FAILURE TO YIELD THE RIGHT OF WAY. WE KNOW THOSE TAKEN TO THE HOSPITAL ARE EXPECTED TO RECOVER. NIGEL: NEW THIS AFTERNOON, WE ARE HEARING FROM THE PARENTS OF RILEY HOWELL. JANE: HE IS THE UNC-CHARLOTTE STUDENT WHO WAS HAILED A HERO -- WAS HAILED AS A HERO FOR SACRIFICING HIS LIFE TO PROTECT OTHERS IN A SCHOOL SHOOTING. NIGEL: OUR ALLEN DEVLIN JOINS US IN STUDIO WITH MORE. ALLEN? ALLEN: NIGEL AND JANE. THIS WAS THE HOWELL FAMILY’S FIRST CHRISTMAS WITHOUT THEIR SON RILEY, BUT THEY ARE ASSURED HIS LEGACY WILL CARRY ON WITH A TRIBUTE FROM LUCASFILM. >> IT HAS BEEN AN ESPECIALLY DIFFICULT MONTH. THAT LITTLE BIT OF ELEVATION I SHOULD SAY IN OUR SPIRITS, THAT WAS GREATLY NEEDED. ALLEN: NOT ONLY IS IT THE HOLIDAYS, BUT IT’S ALSO RILEY’S BIRTHDAY MONTH. HE WOULD’VE BEEN 22 ON THE 13TH. THE HOWELLS SAY THE CHRISTMAS SEASON WITHOUT RILEY HAS BEEN TOUGH, BUT JUST DAYS AGO RIGHT BEFORE THE 25TH, IN THE NEWLY RELEASED STAR WARS BOOK, T RISE OF SKYWALKER, RILEY’S NAME RE-IMAGINED AS JEDI MASTER AND HISTORIAN RI-LEE HOWELL. STAR WARS WAS ALWAYS RILEY’S FAVORITE MOVIE SAGA EVER SINCE HE WAS JUST A COUPLE OF YEARS OLD. AND THE HOWELL FAMILY SAYS THIS GESTURE FROM LUCAS FILM IS THE ULTIMATE CHRISTMAS PRESENT. >> FOR ME IT WAS GRATIFYING IN THAT HIS ACT, WHICH IS ONE OF LOVE, WAS REMEMBERED IN THIS NOTEWORTHY WAY. TO PLAY SOME OF THE STAR WARS GALAXY, WHICH HE LOVE SINCE HE WAS A KID, COULDN’T BE A BETTER GIFT. ALLEN: RILEY’S MOM ADDED THAT HE WAS A GOOF, WAS UNORGANIZED BUT THE SWEETEST AND MOST CARING PERSON THAT COULD NEVER BE REPLACED. POLICE SAY THAT RILEY HOWELL’S CHARGING THE SHOOTER AT UNCC ABSOLUTELY PREVENTED FURTHER LOSS OF LIFE. HE AND 19-YEAR-OLD REED PARLIER WERE KILLED, FOUR OTHERS WERE INJURED. YOU CAN LEARN MORE ABOUT RILEY’S LEGACY AND HIS LOVE FOR STAR WARS BY GOING TO OUR WEBSITE WYFF4.
Advertisement
Family of student who died protecting classmates speaks out following Star Wars tribute in his honor

Lucasfilm honored Riley Howell with character named after him in newest publication

The family of the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, student who charged an armed gunman on campus in April got a wonderful Christmas gift on behalf of Lucasfilm this holiday season. Riley Howell, 21, was fatally shot April 30 after confronting a gunman in his classroom. Since then, the Howell family says they have had a difficult time healing and living without him. “Some moments it’s OK and some moments, it’s ‘I don’t think I can do this,’” said Riley Howell’s father, Thomas Howell. “You just take every minute as it comes.”December has been as especially hard month for the Howell family. Not only is it their first holiday season without Riley, but it is also Riley’s birth month; he would have been 23 on the 13th. Days ago, sadness turned to excitement and pure joy following the release of the new "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: The Visual Dictionary." Lucasfilm honored Riley’s heroic sacrifice by reimagining his name as a Star Wars character. “Ri-Lee Howell” is listed as a “Jedi Master and Historian” in the book, a tribute from Lucasfilm that the Howell family says is invaluable. “This person that we love is no longer alive and for me it was gratifying in that Riley's act, which I think of as one of pure love, was remembered in this really noteworthy way,” Riley’s mother, Natalie Henry-Howell said.Riley was always a huge Star Wars fan. Star Wars was Riley’s favorite saga the entirety of his 21 years of life. For the Howell family, who had several Star Wars themed birthdays and Halloweens, Star Wars will now act as a forever legacy for the sacrifice their son made. The Howell family says the tribute could not have come at a better time, following a saddened December without Riley.“To place him in the Star Wars galaxy which is this epic story that he has loved since he was a kid there just couldn’t be a better gift,” said Natalie Henry-Howell. Henry-Howell started the Riley Howell Foundation Fund following Riley’s passing. It is a fund that supports organizations that benefit victims of gun violence. To learn more about Riley Howell’s legacy, and the Riley Howell Foundation, go to rileyhowellfoundation.org.

The family of the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, student who charged an armed gunman on campus in April got a wonderful Christmas gift on behalf of Lucasfilm this holiday season.

Riley Howell, 21, was fatally shot April 30 after confronting a gunman in his classroom. Since then, the Howell family says they have had a difficult time healing and living without him.

Advertisement

“Some moments it’s OK and some moments, it’s ‘I don’t think I can do this,’” said Riley Howell’s father, Thomas Howell. “You just take every minute as it comes.”

December has been as especially hard month for the Howell family. Not only is it their first holiday season without Riley, but it is also Riley’s birth month; he would have been 23 on the 13th.

Days ago, sadness turned to excitement and pure joy following the release of the new "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: The Visual Dictionary." Lucasfilm honored Riley’s heroic sacrifice by reimagining his name as a Star Wars character. “Ri-Lee Howell” is listed as a “Jedi Master and Historian” in the book, a tribute from Lucasfilm that the Howell family says is invaluable.

“This person that we love is no longer alive and for me it was gratifying in that Riley's act, which I think of as one of pure love, was remembered in this really noteworthy way,” Riley’s mother, Natalie Henry-Howell said.

Riley was always a huge Star Wars fan. Star Wars was Riley’s favorite saga the entirety of his 21 years of life. For the Howell family, who had several Star Wars themed birthdays and Halloweens, Star Wars will now act as a forever legacy for the sacrifice their son made.

The Howell family says the tribute could not have come at a better time, following a saddened December without Riley.

“To place him in the Star Wars galaxy which is this epic story that he has loved since he was a kid there just couldn’t be a better gift,” said Natalie Henry-Howell.

Henry-Howell started the Riley Howell Foundation Fund following Riley’s passing. It is a fund that supports organizations that benefit victims of gun violence. To learn more about Riley Howell’s legacy, and the Riley Howell Foundation, go to rileyhowellfoundation.org.