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UNCC shooting suspect chooses not to appear in court

Trystan Andrew Terrell, 22, is the alleged gunman in the UNCC deadly shooting. He was schedule to appear in court Thursday afternoon, but waived his right.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The suspect in the deadly shooting on the campus of UNC Charlotte was scheduled to appear before a judge Thursday afternoon, but the 22-year-old waived his right to be present.

Trystan Andrew Terrell is a former student at UNC Charlotte. Officials said Terrell was a history major but dropped out this semester. According to the police report, Terrell did not know the two people he killed inside the classroom of the Kennedy Building on campus. 

Terrell is 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 educational property and discharging a firearm on educational property. 

Terrell was scheduled to appear in court at 1 p.m. Thursday, but did not appear.  He waived his right to be present and was appointed a public defender.  The charges against Terrell were read in court.  He is scheduled to appear in court again on May 15 for a bond hearing.  Terrell will remain in jail until that hearing. 

Terrell is autistic, according to his grandfather Paul Rold who lives in Texas.

Rold described his grandson as “reserved,” and a person who “wasn’t social, but was very intelligent.”

"I was incensed last night when I heard on national television describing him as a deranged killer,” his grandfather said by phone. “He was autistic.”

Rold said his grandson moved to Charlotte with his father nearly three years ago.

In a blog posted by Terrell’s sister in 2016, Rold said Terrell’s father talked about his son’s autism.

“When my son was three, I watched as a nurse in a neurologist's office had my son walk down the hallway,” the blog said. “And just because he walked on his tiptoes, she said, ‘Has anyone ever mentioned the word autism to you?’ And with one sentence, our lives got more complicated.”

Rold said Terrell “showed no interest in weapons,” and today the grandfather is pushing for change.

“We don't need all the weapons that exist in this county,” he said. “Stronger gun laws and more mental health.”

NBC Charlotte was on the scene when Terrell was escorted to CMPD headquarters shortly after the shooting on Tuesday.  He appeared to smile out our camera and then shouted, "I shot them."

Medic said the two people killed, Riley Howell and Ellis 'Reed' Parlier, were pronounced dead at the scene. Two people were treated for life-threatening injuries and two were treated for injuries that weren't considered life-threatening. 

Sources told NBC Charlotte that students were giving a presentation when the shooting occurred in a classroom of the Kennedy building.

CMPD said there is no reason to believe anyone else is involved. 

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