Cary student recalls being at UNC-Charlotte when ‘Run, Hide, Fight’ text was sent

May 2, 2019

Stephanie Speice is a senior at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and was taking an exam in the building next to the Kennedy building when a former student with a pistol began firing inside the classroom.

One of Speice’s classmates ran in and said there had been a shooting and everyone was running.

They then received a text from the school that told them to “Run, Hide, Fight.”

Speice said she and another student hid in a maintenance closet before sheltering in place in a classroom with other students and a professor by turning the lights out and barricading the door until police came.

“The door opened, an officer entered and someone yelled come out with your hands up,” she said. “And they were asking us as we were walking out if we had seen everything. We walked out and there were probably 10 officers.”

Speice says the whole ordeal lasted about an hour and 45 minutes.

They were not permitted back on campus until the next day, and when she was finally able to go back to her dorm it was quiet and solemn as students tried to process what happened.

Trystan Andrew Terrell, 22, a former student, has been charged with two counts of murder, four counts of attempted murder and other charges.

He waived his right to appear in front of a judge on Thursday during a first-appearance when the charges against him were read.

UNC-Charlotte and police have said all the victims were students: five from North Carolina and one international.

Riley Howell, 21, of Waynesville, and Ellis R. Parlier, 19 of Midland, were killed.

Howell has been praised by police who said his actions helped spare the lives of other students but cost him his own. Howell jumped on the shooter but was fatally wounded during the scuffle before law enforcement officers arrived in the classroom.

His sister, Iris Howell, is a student at NC State University, the school announced during a vigil on their campus Thursday to honor the victims of the shooting at UNC-Charlotte.

Those wounded were Sean Dehart, 20, and Drew Pescaro, 19, both of Apex; Emily Houpt, 23, of Charlotte; and Rami Alramadhan, 20, of Saihat, Saudi Arabia.

Speice says she has definitely not processed the mass shooting on her campus.

She said thankfully the school has given students the option not to take finals next week if they are satisfied with their current grade. She says the best part of coming home last night was hugging her mother and father.