Police: UNC-Charlotte shooting suspect planned attack for months

Crime Tracker
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Police say the man charged with fatally shooting two students and wounding four others in a classroom at UNC-Charlotte told them he’d planned the shooting for months.

In newly unsealed search warrants reviewed Tuesday, former student Trystan Andrew Terrell, 22, told interrogators he entered the University of North Carolina at Charlotte building on April 30 intending to shoot people, then paused to load his gun in a bathroom near the lecture hall before attacking. He was dressed in black and carried a black bag containing several loaded bullet magazines, one warrant said.

In statements seeking court permission to access Terrell’s cellphone and laptop, a Charlotte-Mecklenburg detective described Terrell as saying he used his phone to record a video of the area where the shooting happened. It’s not clear when Terrell would have recorded the video or what it shows.

“The suspect stated he had been planning this shooting for several months and described to detectives where and how he obtained the firearm, research he had conducted on mass shootings, and how he chose this location,” lead investigator Detective Brian Koll wrote. “The suspect stated that he was tackled by a student in the room and he just laid there until police arrived.”

The description attributed to Terrell supports statements by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney, who said shortly after the shooting that 21-year-old student Riley Howell saved lives by charging and tackling the gunman. Howell and Ellis Parlier, 19, were killed inside the anthropology lecture hall.

Shooting victims fell next to Terrell and “a black handgun was observed next to the suspect,” Koll’s account said.

A campus police sergeant pushing into the classroom building past fleeing students asked where the gunman was located, then stormed into the second-floor classroom, detectives said.

The officer “yells to the occupants of the room and asks them to tell him who was shooting,” Detective P. Barnett wrote, adding that it was at that point that Terrell said it was him. He was taken into custody, Barnett said.

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