Content warning: This article contains images from April 30 that may be disturbing. 

On April 30, 2019, the UNC Charlotte community was thrown into chaos. An armed assailant fired into a classroom of the centrally-located Kennedy building, hitting six students. Two, Ellis "Reed" Parlier and Riley Howell, were killed. Drew Pescaro, Sean DeHart, Rami Al-Ramadhan and Emily Houpt were injured and have all since recovered. 

The following is a collection of photos taken on April 30 and May 1 by members of the Niner Times.

april 30 photo 1

Tuesday was the last day of classes for the spring semester, and students had planned to celebrate with a baseball game and Waka Flocka concert that night. Instead, it became “the saddest day in UNC Charlotte’s history,” as Chancellor Phil Dubois called it in an email to the campus community.

april 30 photo 9

April 30 was the final day of classes. In Kennedy 236, Professor Adam Johnson’s  Science, Technology and Society class, it was the first day of final presentations. Johnson wrote in a blog post that seven minutes into the first presentation, “earsplitting bangs ring throughout the room, off the glass walls, creating a terrible reverberation.”

Note: The classroom pictured above is not Kennedy 236, but a classroom in COED.

april 30 photo 3

A former student started firing in classroom 236 in the Kennedy building at approximately 5:40 p.m. A NinerAlert sent minutes after the gunshots warned the campus community: “Run, Hide, Fight. Secure yourself immediately.”

april 30 photo 4

Due to the lockdown, police had to break down doors and shatter windows to get into classrooms as they cleared the buildings.

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Students evacuated Atkins Library and campus was immediately placed on lockdown.

April 30 photo 6

Over 200 emergency responders rushed to seal off campus and evacuate survivors.

april 30 photo 7

Evacuees gathered next to Hechenbleikner Lake to await further instructions from first responders.

april 30 photo 8

Chancellor Philip Dubois announced 24 hours after the shooting that the two students killed were Riley Howell, 21, and Ellis “Reed” Parlier, 19.

april 30 photo 10

The University lifted the campus lockdown at 5:23 a.m. on May 1. That evening, thousands of UNC Charlotte community members attended a memorial service and impromptu vigil at the SAC and on the compass quad.

april 30 photo 11

After a request from survivor Drew Pescaro’s family to show support with the hashtag #DrewStrong, Charlotte Strong became the uniting dictum for the UNC Charlotte community.

april 30 photo 12

Students organized a vigil at 6:00 p.m. on May 1 in Halton Arena. The effort was led by Kristine Slade and Makala Carrington and supported by the Senior Class Council, Senior Executive Leadership Program and the Student Organization Resource Center (SORC).

April 30 photo 13

Chancellor Dubois was tearful and his voice was audibly shaken. “As parents ourselves, Lisa and I grieve for the senseless loss of young life and share in the anguish of their parents, their families and you, their friends. We can’t bring them back,” he said.

april 30 photo 14

Thousands of students, Charlotte residents and community members showed up for an impromptu vigil after the memorial service.

april 30 photo 15

In the immediate and long-term aftermath of the shooting, then-senior Kristine Slade tirelessly worked to unite the university community and advocate for survivors of gun violence.

april 30 photo 16

Newly inaugurated Student Body President Chandler Crean expressed his sincere condolences and support to the injured students and thanked CMPD and UNC Charlotte Police Department for their work. He also stated, “Students, faculty, friends and family, please know that this does not stop here. It can not stop here. We have to stay strong together, uplift each other, love one another and unite as one Niner Nation. What happened yesterday cannot happen again.”

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Chief of UNC Charlotte Police Jeffrey Baker was one of the first to respond to the scene. “April 30 is a day in my life that I honestly think about every day and probably will forever, in one way or another,” he told the Niner Times.

april 30 photo 18

First responders also attended, including the Charlotte Fire Department.

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Pictured is one of the many impromptu memorial sites created on campus after the shooting.

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From left to right: event organizer Kristine Slade, Student Body President Chandler Crean, Student Body Vice President Adela Mann, Mrs. Lisa Dubois, and Chancellor Phil Dubois during the National Anthem.

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Halton Arena, which seats 9,105, was completely filled. Many stood on the sidelines, in the stairways and in the entrances in order to watch the memorial service. 

April 30 photo 22

The University, in conjunction with Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department, coordinated a heavy police presence for the vigil.

april 30 photo 23

The UNC Charlotte Women’s Chorus performed a rendition of "Rain Come Down" by Shawn Kirchner, which was written to commemorate the Columbine massacre. Members of the chorus are pictured here.

april 30 photo 24

Kristine Slade, Makala Carrington, and dozens of others organized a massive drive for candles, water bottles, and other materials required for the vigil. “There were over 100 student volunteers working hands on without hesitation that day,” said Slade in a recent interview. “And it really couldn’t have been done without their help and dedication.”


april 30 photo 25

Oswaldo Joseph Silva, Jr. was one of the many survivors who attended.

april 30 photo 26

Another important group of first responders were, in fact, therapy dogs. Many had been present during the aftermath of other mass shootings, such as Sandy Hook and the El Paso shooting.

april 30 photo 27

Thousands of community members in attendance at the vigil.

April 30 photo 28

The tragedy also spurred a growing student movement against gun violence in Charlotte. Students joined the campus chapter of March for Our Lives, and independent organizations like Real Change Now Charlotte formed to combat gun violence. Two students, Gabe Cartagena and Cade Lee, ran for local office the following year on platforms informed by April 30 and gun law reform.

april 30 photo 29

Two students pray after the vigil.

april 30 photo 30

UNC Charlotte’s Counseling and Psychological Services saw a tremendous increase in students utilizing their services after the shooting. The American Red Cross, the Charlotte Mecklenburg Emergency Management Office, and other organizations provided additional support to meet these demands. The University of Utah and UNC Chapel Hill also offered to purchase food for CAPS employees.

april 30 photo 31

Another impromptu memorial created near one of the most well known campus symbols.

april 30 photo 32

After the vigil, a 22 year old University City resident named Donqwavias Davis was shot to death after a dispute at the University Village Apartment complex. Two others were injured. 

April 30 last photo

Candles burning late at night with a “Charlotte Strong” pin to pay respects to those lost in the tragedy.

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