CHARLOTTE, N.C. — In a first of its kind for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, the Medal of Valor was awarded posthumously to a citizen. The family of Riley Howell, the UNC Charlotte student who was killed during a shooting on campus last month, was there Wednesday morning to accept it on his behalf, WSOC reports.
CMPD Chief Kerr Putney said Howell’s actions — sacrificing his life in rushing a gunman at UNC Charlotte on April 30 to save others — merited the award traditionally reserved for officers.
“The only thing we could do as an organization is recognize that, lift him up for the way that he lived his life,” Putney said.
It was part of a broader awards ceremony that saw dozens of citizens honored for great acts of service.