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What we know about the suspected UNC Charlotte shooter

UNCC victim died fighting gunman
UNCC shooting victim died fighting gunman 01:55

Charlotte, N.C. — Details are emerging about a gunman accused of opening fire in a University of North Carolina-Charlotte classroom during the last day of classes Tuesday. Police say Trystan Andrew Terrell, armed with a handgun that was purchased legally, killed two people and wounded four others at the school before campus police disarmed and arrested him, authorities said.

"I just went into a classroom and shot the guys," Terrell told reporters Tuesday as officers led him away in handcuffs. Officials say there is no immediately apparent motive for the attack.

The 22-year-old was booked into the Mecklenburg County jail on two counts of murder, four counts of attempted murder, possessing and firing a weapon on educational property, and assault with a deadly weapon. 

Here's what we know about Terrell so far:

  • Terrell and his father moved to Charlotte from the Dallas area about two years ago after his mother died, Terrell's grandfather, Paul Rold of Arlington, Texas, said.
  • Terrell taught himself French and Portuguese with the help of a language learning program his grandfather bought him and was attending UNC-Charlotte, according to Rold. 
  • Terrell is on the autism spectrum but "clever as can be," and he never showed any interest in guns or other weapons, Rold said, The Associated Press reported. 
  • UNC-Charlotte spokeswoman Buffy Stephens said Terrell had been enrolled at UNC-Charlotte but withdrew during the current semester.
  • The campus police chief said Terrell had not appeared on their radar as a potential threat.
Trystan Terrell

University sophomore Tristan Field told CBS News that the site of the shooting — a classroom — turned from confusion to chaos as shots rang out. Field believes the shooter sat with the other students for about 10 minutes before opening fire, CBS News' Chip Reid reported. 

The two students who were killed were identified as 19-year-old Ellis Parlier and 21-year-old Riley Howell. Drew Pescaro, 19, Sean Dehart, 20, Emily Houpt, 23, and Rami Alramadhan, 20, were injured in the attack, according to the university. 

Authorities said Wednesday the gunman didn't appear to target any particular person but did deliberately pick the building where it happened.

Sources told CBS Charlotte affiliate WBTV Terrell made a "full confession" and he allegedly "researched" the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting. 

Police said the motive remains a mystery. 

"We can't really discern the why just yet," said Charlotte-Mecklenberg police chief Kerr Putney. "There was no specific person, and the randomness is what is most upsetting." 

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