UNCC shooting survivor shares open letter on gun control: ’Going through something like this once is enough’

Students pay their respects to victims of the April 30th, 2019 mass shooting at University of North Carolina Charlotte. (Photo: Getty Images)
Students pay their respects to victims of the April 30th, 2019 mass shooting at University of North Carolina Charlotte. (Photo: Getty Images)

Drew Pescaro, who survived the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNCC) shooting, tweeted an open letter about gun violence, pleading, “Going through something like this once, is enough.”

The 19-year-old from Apex, North Carolina, was one of four students who survived the Apr. 30th on-campus attack by gunman Trystan Terrell, 22. Pescaro and three classmates (Sean Dehart, Rami Alramadhan, and Emily Huupt) were seriously injured. And the two who died — Riley Howell and Ellis Reed Parlier — took 14 collective shots, according to autopsy reports released Tuesday. Terrell has been charged with murder, reports the Associated Press.

Pescaro spent weeks in the hospital and went though many surgeries, and shared a video of himself taking his first steps without a walker to on May 13. The sports lover was paid a visit by Jonathan Stewart, a former running back for the Carolina Panthers football team. And the Twitter hashtag #DrewStrong captured his recovery.

On Tuesday, Pescaro tweeted the open letter expressing heartache over gun violence. “I am sick and tired of all the violence in this country,” he wrote. “It seems we can’t go a day without a new mass shooting appearing in the news.”

Pescaro, a member of the Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity, reflected on being carried out of a classroom injured, and the realization of “knowing fully that two of my classmates would not be leaving it.” He also expressed his grief over the commonality of these events; according to ABC News, 10 mass shootings occurred between January and May, 2019.

“It feels like we aren’t doing a thing about it and that we wish the best for people involved and then move on with our daily lives until the next one happens,” he wrote. “I can even admit being guilty of that until it happened at my school.”

Pescaro said associating mental illness with gun violence is an “excuse,” a belief reflected through a February study by the University of Texas, which determined that having access to firearms was a better precursor to gun violence. However, Pescaro added, banning guns might not be the answer, nor would arming the public for protection.

“I am seeing a therapist and so far, that has been very helpful, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have horrible days,” he wrote. “I am tired of bottling up the raw emotions I am feeling.”

“This problem has gone on for far too long,” Pescaro wrote, adding, “I promise you, going through something like this once is enough.”

The college student was called an “inspiration” who provided “teachable moments.” A follower tweeted, “Love to you, my fellow survivor. I was 20 when I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. I will always be there to stand up with you.”

Pescaro did not respond to an interview request from Yahoo Lifestyle.

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