The UNC Charlotte student who was hailed a hero for selflessly putting himself between a gunman and his fellow classmates last April, is now being "immortalized as a Jedi," in a future Star Wars publication, according to the production company behind the Star Wars series.
Riley Howell was 21 years old when he died protecting other students from a shooter who stormed into a building on UNCC's campus.
LucasFilm confirmed to ABC11 that they have sent a letter to Howell's family expressing condolences.
"Riley's courage and selflessness brings out the Jedi in all of us," wrote fan relations team member Lucas Seastrom. "We hope that you may rejoice in his memory, and we join you in honoring his life and example."
"As a small tribute, our Story Group has incorporated a reimagining of Riley's name as a character in the Star Wars galaxy," Seastrom continued. "We can't reveal the specific details at this time, but the character's name will appear in a forthcoming book publication later this year.
The Force will be with Riley, and all of you, always..."
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney said in the days following the April 30 shooting that without Howell's attack, capturing the gunman might have taken longer.
"But (Howell), seeing exactly what was going on, did exactly what we train people to do," Putney said. "You're either going to run, you're going to hide and shield, or you're going to take the fight to the assailant.
"Having no place to run and hide, he did the last," Putney continued. "But for his work, the assailant may not have been disarmed. Unfortunately, he gave his life in the process."
Howell was a graduate of T.C Roberson High School in Asheville.
Reed Parlier, 19, of Midland was also killed in the shooting
Story courtesy of ABC13.