Star Wars Jedi named for hero student in U. of North Carolina shooting

The character is named Ri-Lee Howell and was first mentioned in the Star Wars: Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker visual dictionary, CNN reported.

Star Wars enthusiasts huddle with their lightsabers after participating in Earth Hour at Taguig City, Philippines, March 30, 2019 (photo credit: REUTERS/ELOISA LOPEZ)
Star Wars enthusiasts huddle with their lightsabers after participating in Earth Hour at Taguig City, Philippines, March 30, 2019
(photo credit: REUTERS/ELOISA LOPEZ)
Riley Howell, 21, sacrificed his life to protect others at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte when he tackled a gunman in April. Many have called Howell a hero for his act, but now he can also be called a Jedi master.
A family from Howell’s hometown reportedly told Lucasfilm about him, according to CNN. The character is named Ri-Lee Howell and was first mentioned in the Star Wars: Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker visual dictionary.
“To us, it's kind of like a really nice way to round out the worst year of all of our lives,” Lauren Westmoreland, who was Howell’s girlfriend, told WLOS adding that Howell’s fifth birthday was Star Wars-themed, according to CNN.  "That's what everybody was saying. He's a Jedi master and he's a hero.”
"They say he’s a historian and he’s preserved these Jedi texts," Westmoreland told BuzzFeed. "I think he was so analytical and knew everything there was to know about every little detail of Star Wars. They couldn’t have picked a better character to make him."
Westmoreland posted a montage about Howell on the app TikTok and described him as “the biggest fan of Star Wars” she knows and thanked Lucasfilm for giving Howell the “best Christmas gift this year and making him part of the Star Wars universe forever.”
@laaaaaaalaland
best news we’ve gotten all year!!! i’m so lucky to know a Jedi master #my2019 #fearless #domore #fyp #foryou #foryoupage #SpotifyWrapped #starwars
♬ FOLLOW ME - egmacc

In addition to Howell, 19-year-old Ellis "Reed" Parlier was killed in the shooting and four others were wounded.
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department named Trystan Andrew Terrell as the suspect in the shooting, according to The New York Times.
Terrell was “charged with two counts of murder, four counts of attempted murder, four counts of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, possession of a firearm on an educational property and discharging a firearm on an educational property,” The New York Times reported in April.