The family of Riley Howell, the 21-year-old who tackled the gunman who attacked his North Carolina college classroom Wednesday and lost his life in the process, said Thursday that they were “beyond proud” of their son’s sacrifice. “We are just beyond proud of what he was able to do,” Riley’s mother told Today. “While kids were running one way, our son turned and ran towards the shooter.” She added that “if he was in the room when something like that was happening, and he had turned away, he wouldn’t have been able to live with himself.” WSOC-TV reports that when the gunman tried to shoot up a UNC Charlotte anthropology class, Howell tackled him while other students fled—likely sparing many lives. As a result of his actions, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney called Howell the “first and foremost hero” of the shooting. In the process, he and one other student were killed, and four more were injured. Former history student Trystan Andrew Terrell, 22, has since been arrested and charged with two counts of murder and four counts of attempted murder, among other charges.