(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) — A student who was injured during the deadly classroom shooting at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte earlier this month will be walking down the aisle to receive her diploma on Saturday.
Emily Houpt, 23, was injured when a fellow student at the school stormed a classroom on April 30 and opened fire on those inside. She’s the only one of the four students injured in the shooting to receive her diploma during the school’s graduation ceremonies this weekend. The other wounded students are Drew Pescaro, 19, Rami Al-Ramadhan, 20, and Sean DeHart, 20.
Houpt will be receiving a degree in international affairs, according to ABC News affiliate WSOC-TV.
Ellis “Reed” Parlier, 19, and Riley Howell, 21, the two students killed by the gunman, received degrees in memoriam during a ceremony on Friday. According to WSOC, Howell was an environmental studies major who transferred to the school in 2018 and Parlier, who started school in 2017, was planning to major in computer science with the ultimate goal of becoming a game developer.
About 5,000 students will be graduating this weekend, WSOC reported. During Friday night’s ceremony, Chancellor Philip Dubois held a moment of silence and encouraged others to remain strong during a time of great pain.
“At the time, I ask that you join me in a moment of silence in memory of Riley and Reed and in thanks for the lives of our four injured students and countless others who were spared because of their sacrifice,” Dubois said, according to WSOC. “We, as Niner Nation, persevered.”
In an essay written by Adam Johnson, the anthropology professor whose class was involved in the shooting, he said that the shooting took place early in the evening of April 30 while a group in the class was conducting a video presentation.
“We get about seven minutes into the video and without warning, earsplitting bangs ring throughout the room, off the glass walls, creating a terrible reverberation,” he wrote.
The shooter had been enrolled in Johnson’s class, he wrote, saying that while he was “engaged” in the class early in the semester, he soon stopped coming to class and eventually withdrew. It’s still unclear if there was a motive behind the gunfire.
Chief Kerr Putney of the Charlotte-Mecklenberg Police Department hailed Howell as a “hero” for charging at the gunman and taking him “off his feet … allowing officers to step in and apprehend him.”
He said that without Howell, “the assailant may not have been disarmed.”
“Unfortunately, he gave his life in the process, but his sacrifice saved lives,” Putney said.
Howell, who was taking ROTC courses at the university, was buried with military honors earlier this week.
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