CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Dozens of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police officers were honored for their service to the community Wednesday but the biggest award went to UNC Charlotte student Riley Howell. 

Howell was awarded the Citizen Medal of Valor for his heroic actions during last month's deadly shooting. Howell tackled the gunman and saved countless lives in the process. Howell, 21, and 19-year-old Reed Parlier were both killed in the attack. Four others students were injured. 

Howell's parents, siblings and his girlfriend accepted the award on his behalf to a standing ovation during Wednesday's awards ceremony. 

"What Riley did in the class was extraordinary," said one CMPD officer. "As a police department, as a community, as a city and as a nation, we wanted to recognize this act."

Howell's family didn't speak during Wednesday's ceremony but it was clear they were extremely proud of his actions. Howell's parents told TODAY what he did was no surprise because he always put others first. 

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