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Northern Arizona University shooter Steven Jones charged with 2nd degree murder

  • Northern Arizona University freshman Steven Jones, 18, shot four students
  • He killed Colin Brough, 20, after getting into a fight with a rival fraternity
  • Nicholas Prato, Nicholas Piring and Kyle Zientek were injured in shooting
  • Jones claims he warned the students before firing at them in self-defense
  • Police say gunman did not act with premeditation so they issued complaint
  • His murder charge has now been downgraded from first degree to second 
  • If convicted, Jones could be jailed for 25 years rather than life

By Ollie Gillman For Dailymail.com

Published: 00:52 EST, 15 October 2015 | Updated: 01:14 EST, 15 October 2015

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Steven Jones, who shot dead a fellow student at Northern Arizona University, has had his murder charge downgraded from first to second degree

Steven Jones, who shot dead a fellow student at Northern Arizona University, has had his murder charge downgraded from first to second degree

The Northern Arizona University freshman who killed a fellow student and injured three others in a shooting last week has had his murder charge downgraded from first to second degree.

Steven Jones, 18, killed Colin Brough, 20, with two shots to the chest and one to the shoulder after getting into a fight with members of the Delta Chi fraternity outside an all-Greek residence hall on campus Friday.

He was initially charged with first-degree murder but that has been downgraded to second-degree in a complaint issued last night by police, who say Jones did not act with premeditation.

Jones, who has claimed he was acting in self-defense, could now face 25 years in prison if convicted, rather than a maximum sentence of life behind bars.

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.  

Prosecutors said Jones, a pledge from the Sigma Chi fraternity, got into the fight in the parking lot outside the dorm and was punched in the face before being chased to his car where he kept a pistol.

When he got there he pulled the weapon, then fired shots at close range, killing Brough and wounding fellow frat members Prato, Zientek and Piring.

Jones has since told police that he acted in self defense, warning his unarmed attackers that he would shoot, then opening fire when two of them continued to approach him.

However prosecutors have rubbished that claim, saying Jones could easily have walked away from the fracas, but chose to get his gun and 'go back into the fray'.

Deputy County Attorney Ammon Barker also accused Baker of giving 'self-serving statements' to police in order to protect himself. 

Jones has told police that he acted in self defense, warning his unarmed attackers that he would shoot, then opening fire when two of them continued to approach him.
Jones (right) has told police that he acted in self defense, warning his unarmed attackers that he would shoot, then opening fire when two of them continued to approach him.

Jones, whose Instagram page is covered with photos of himself holding guns, has told police that he fired in self-defense after being punched in the face and fleeing to his car 

Colin Brough (pictured), a marketing major from Colorado and a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity, died after being shot twice in the chest and once in the shoulder by Jones

Colin Brough (pictured), a marketing major from Colorado and a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity, died after being shot twice in the chest and once in the shoulder by Jones

Brough's Delta Chi brothers Kyle Zientek (pictured), Nicholas Prato and Nicholas Piring were also shot and injured. They are recovering at the hospital but their conditions are not known
Brough's Delta Chi brothers Kyle Zientek, Nicholas Prato (pictured) and Nicholas Piring were also shot and injured. They are recovering at the hospital but their conditions are not known
Brough's Delta Chi brothers Kyle Zientek, Nicholas Prato and Nicholas Piring (pictured) were also shot and injured. They are recovering at the hospital but their conditions are not known

Brough's frat brothers Kyle Zientek (left), Nicholas Prato (center) and Nicholas Piring (right) were also shot and injured

Prato (in glasses and black shirt, center) was seen leading a vigil on Tuesday in Flagstaff, Arizona

Prato (in glasses and black shirt, center) was seen leading a vigil on Tuesday in Flagstaff, Arizona

Jones' attorney, Burges McCowan, declined to comment last night. 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 for Thursday and Friday in Annapolis, Maryland, where he attended high school. 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.

 

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