Student charged with second-degree murder in campus shooting
Oct. 15, 2015
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — Police at Northern Arizona University have filed a formal complaint charging a freshman with second-degree murder in a campus shooting that also injured three other students.
Steven Jones initially was charged with first-degree murder in the death of Colin Brough, 20, following a confrontation last Friday. That charge was downgraded in a complaint released Wednesday, with police saying Jones didn't act with premeditation. A conviction for first-degree murder carries a maximum penalty of life in prison, while a conviction on second-degree murder could result in up to 25 years in prison.
The complaint also expands the number of assault charges against Jones, 18, from three to six — two for each of the three students injured in the shooting. Two of the injured students, Nicholas Prato and Nicholas Piring, have been released from the hospital. The condition of Kyle Zientek is unclear.
Jones told police he shot the group of students only after they hit him in the face and chased him, according to court documents. Prosecutors said his account was self-serving and alleged Jones was the aggressor.
Jones' attorney, Burges McCowan, declined comment Wednesday. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Monday in Flagstaff Justice Court.
Thousands of people wearing blue and gold, the university's colors, turned out Tuesday evening for a march on the NAU campus in Flagstaff in support of the shooting victims, all of them members of the Delta Chi fraternity. Jones had pledged to Sigma Chi, but he was removed from the program after his arrest Friday. The organization's executive director, Michael Church, said last Friday that the NAU chapter of Sigma Chi also has been suspended while it investigates.
NAU President Rita Cheng told the crowd gathered for the march that she felt inspired by the turnout. "I believe in this campus and this community, and our bonds in our minds and hearts will only be strengthened," she said.
Funeral services for Brough are scheduled Thursday and Friday in Annapolis, Maryland, where he attended high school and played lacrosse. He graduated from Castle Rock High School in Castle Rock, Colorado, in 2013.
A medical examiner declared Brough's death a homicide. He was shot in the chest and right shoulder.