Drew Pescaro enrolled at UNC Charlotte with big dreams of working some day for the Hornets or another professional basketball team.
The 19-year-old from Wake County became a sportswriter for the Niner Times, the student-run newspaper, and served as a manager for the men’s basketball team at the university. In an essay posted on his LinkedIn page, Pescaro said he saw UNCC as a “stepping stone” toward a career with the NBA.
Pescaro and two other students — Emily Houpt, 23, and Rami Al-Ramadhan, 20 — remained in the hospital Wednesday after being injured in an on-campus shooting that left two people dead Tuesday.
Another student, 20-year-old Sean DeHart, was released from the hospital, UNCC Chancellor Philip Dubois said Wednesday.
Police have charged a 22-year-old man, a former student at UNCC, but have not indicated a possible motive in the case.
The shooting, less than two weeks before graduation, has left the campus mourning for those who died and rallying for those who were hurt. Social media accounts of the four people who were injured paint a picture of ambitious college students working toward their goals.
“My initial reaction to hearing that Drew had been shot was just absolute blood-curdling terror,” Nikolai Mather said of Pescaro, his colleague.
As news of the shooting spread, social media users showed support for Pescaro with the hashtag #DrewStrong. Ross Pescaro, his brother, encouraged people to use the hashtag and asked for prayers, according to WBTV.
Pescaro, who is from Massachusetts and attended Middle Creek High School in Wake County, was in stable condition after surgery, according to his fraternity, Alpha Tau Omega.
In a Facebook post, the fraternity described him as funny and friendly.
Houpt, an international studies major from Charlotte, was recently named a spring intern for the World Affairs Council of Charlotte, the group said. She has traveled extensively since 2010, including multiple countries in Europe, according to the council.
“When Emily is not interning or in school, she works at a local grocery chain,” said a Jan. 28 council report. “In her spare time, Emily likes to read, study Arabic ... and write stories.”
“My goal is to find a position with an organization that seeks to protect human rights in any way, be it through advocacy or service,” Houpt wrote on her LinkedIn page.
Al-Ramadhan is an engineering student with dreams of being a photographer, according to his Twitter page. His father is en route to the United States to be with his son as he recovers, reports radio station WFAE, which reported Al-Ramadhan is a freshman.
Al-Ramadhan’s Twitter account says his lives in Charlotte but is originally from Saihat, a town on Saudi Arabia’s Persian Gulf coast.
Less was immediately known about DeHart, who lives in Wake County. His Facebook page says he is originally from Shelton, Connecticut. He graduated in 2017 from Cardinal Gibbons High School, a private Catholic school in Raleigh.