Lawsuit against man charged in university shooting settled
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — A man charged with a deadly shooting at Northern Arizona University has settled a negligence lawsuit against him and his parents.
Steven Jones has said he acted in self-defense when he fatally shot 20-year-old Colin Brough and wounded three others on the Flagstaff campus in 2015. Prosecutors said Jones was the aggressor.
Nicholas Piring, Kyle Zientek and Nicholas Prato were wounded. None of the victims was armed.
The lawsuit filed on behalf of Brough’s parents, Piring and Prato alleged that Jones was immature, prone to outbursts, disrespected authority and never should have been allowed to have a handgun. It sought damages for the emotional and physical toll on the victims and for medical and other expenses.
Jones was punched in the face after he and two pledges from his fraternity rang the doorbell of an apartment and ran away as a prank. He then retrieved a .40-caliber handgun from his car, authorities said.
The civil case was short-lived, being dismissed about five months after it was filed in late June. Attorneys on both sides declined to comment on the settlement this week, saying the terms are confidential.
Each side is responsible for its own attorneys’ fees, according to court documents.
A jury deadlocked on criminal charges against Jones last May. He is scheduled to face another criminal trial in March — a date thrown into question after one of his attorneys withdrew from the case for medical reasons. Coconino County Superior Court Judge Dan Slayton recently appointed a public defender as lead counsel.
Public defender Brad Bransky said Tuesday that he will need a month or more to get up to speed and determine if he’s ready for trial by March. Jones has rejected previous plea offers and said he wants to go to trial.
Prosecutor Ammon Barker said he will work with Bransky to ensure he has what he needs.
“The victims have been waiting for resolution on this case for some time,” he said.