Local News

Lucasfilm honors fallen NC hero with new Jedi Master, 'Ri-Lee Howell'

Posted December 23, 2019 5:34 p.m. EST
Updated December 23, 2019 8:39 p.m. EST

Riley Howell was shot and killed on April 30, 2019 by a gunman on the campus of UNC-Charlotte. He is a graduate of T.C. Roberson High School. Police said he tried to prevent the gunman from shooting others and died as a result of his heroism. (Photo: Buncombe County Schools)

A North Carolina man who police say laid down his life to protect others has received an uncommon honor.

Police say shooting victim Riley Howell, 22, rushed to tackle the gunman who fired on University of North Carolina at Charlotte students earlier this year, killing Howell and a classmate, Reed Parlier.

In the same year, Howell has been recognized with a new character in the Star Wars universe named in his honor.

According to Wookieepedia, the Star Wars Wiki, Ri-Lee Howell is a Jedi Master and historian.

The fandom reference site further goes on to say that Ri-Lee Howell appears in "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: The Visual Dictionary," a 2019 reference book by Pablo Hidalgo. Following Howell's death, Wookieepedia states, Lucasfilm Ltd. send a letter to his family "telling them that the Lucasfilm Story Group had decided to create a character based on Riley as a small tribute, but they couldn't share the details until The Visual Dictionary was released."

A photo purporting to be from the family of Howell's girlfriend at the time of his death, Lauren Westmoreland, shows a letter from Lucasfilm, in which a fan relations team member tells them that "Riley's courage and selflessness brings out the Jedi in all of us."

Local media reports that Howell was a fan of the movies, and collected Star Wars figurines including Obi-Wan Kenobi.

"The Force will be with Riley, and all of you, always" closes the letter from Luscasfilm.

Visit Ri-Lee Howell on Wookieepedia here.

View "The Visual Dictionary" on Wookieepedia here.

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