Hero Student in UNCC Shooting Honored as a ‘Star Wars’ Jedi

A hero of this galaxy is now also a hero of one far, far away.

The makers of Star Wars have created a character in honor of Riley Howell, a hero who sacrificed his life during the campus shooting at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in April.

Howell was a 21-year-old ROTC cadet and student at the school. He died in April while tackling a gunman on campus.

A spokesperson from Lucasfilm said a family from his hometown told them about Howell and this was their way of helping, according to WLOS.

Here’s the letter Lucasfilm sent Riley’s family:

Star Wars Howell Letter.jpg

“Riley’s courage and selflessness brings out the Jedi in all of us,” Lucas Seastrom of Lucasfilm’s Fan Relation Team wrote in the letter addressed to the Howell family.

The newly-created Star Wars character, named Ri-Lee Howell, is described in the Star Wars fan site as a Jedi Master and historian of the Jedi Order who collected accounts of explorations of the Force. His character was first mentioned in a 2019 reference book that accompanied this year’s film Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker, the site said.

Howell’s Star Wars namesake appears in “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: The Visual Dictionary,” according to Wookipeedia.

“It’s really cool that’s how he’s immortalized is through one of those because that’s probably one of the best things they could have picked,” Lauren Westmoreland, who was Howell’s girlfriend, told WLOS.

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