Home | News | World News | NAU shooter Steven Jones says he was acting in self defense after being punched

NAU shooter Steven Jones says he was acting in self defense after being punched

  • Freshman Steven Jones, 18, charged with first degree murder after brawl
  • Colin Brough was killed after Jones shot him in the chest and shoulder
  • Jones also wounded Nicholas Prato, Kyle Zientek and Nicholas Piring 
  • Shootings happened during fraternity fight at Eastern Arizona University 
  • Jones claims he warned frat brothers he would shoot before opening fire
  • However prosecutor has rubbished Jones' claims of acting in self defense
  • Jones 'could have walked away but instead he went back into the fray'

By Chris Pleasance For Dailymail.com

Published: 08:29 EST, 10 October 2015 | Updated: 08:32 EST, 10 October 2015

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Steven Jones, 18, has been charged with  first-degree murder and three counts of aggravated assault on Friday after shooting fellow students

Steven Jones, 18, has been charged with  first-degree murder and three counts of aggravated assault on Friday after shooting fellow students

A Northern Arizona University freshman charged with first degree murder after shooting a fellow student dead and wounding two others claims he was acting in self defense.

Steven Jones, 18, killed fellow student Colin Brough 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 in the early hours of yesterday.

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 Nicholas Prato, Kyle Zientek and Nicholas 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.  

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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 

However, Jones' claim of self defense has been rubbished by the state attorney, who said he could easily have walked away from the confrontation but chose to get his gun and 'go back into the fray' 

However, Jones' claim of self defense has been rubbished by the state attorney, who said he could easily have walked away from the confrontation but chose to get his gun and 'go back into the fray' 

Flagstaff Police Chief Greg Fowler said the fatal shooting broke out after members of two 'student groups' got into a confrontation in a parking lot outside Mountain View Hall -  the campus' all-Greek dorm where the majority of the school's fraternity and sorority members live.

When the fight turned physical, Fowler says Jones pulled out a handgun with a flashlight attachment before firing at the students from 10ft away.

He allegedly stopped shooting when officers arrived at the scene about 1.20am and subdued him. 

Jones was taken into custody. He has reportedly been cooperating with police. 

Later Friday afternoon Jones had his first court hearing, where he was held on $2million bail for charges of felony first-degree murder and three counts of felony aggravated assault. 

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. They are recovering at the hospital but their conditions are not known

The three others who were injured in the shooting were taken to a nearby hospital to be treated for their injuries. 

Their conditions are not currently known, but Fowler says that they all suffered multiple gunshot wounds.  

Sigma Chi Fraternity executive director Michael Church confirmed in a statement Friday that Steven Jones was seeking membership with its NAU chapter.

Church said the shooting was not associated with any chapter event.

He says Jones was removed from the chapter's pledge program immediately following his arrest. 

Last night a candlelit vigil was held for the victims on the campus in Flagstaff, Arizona, where it is believed all of the fraternity brothers were studying business

Last night a candlelit vigil was held for the victims on the campus in Flagstaff, Arizona, where it is believed all of the fraternity brothers were studying business

Students weep during a vigil held last night for Colin Brough, the student killed in a shooting at EAU yesterday, and Kyle Zientek, Nicholas Prato and Nicholas Piring, who were all injured

Students weep during a vigil held last night for Colin Brough, the student killed in a shooting at EAU yesterday, and Kyle Zientek, Nicholas Prato and Nicholas Piring, who were all injured

It's still unclear what propelled Jones to open fire at the early Friday morning fraternity party. Police say the shooting happened after a fight broke out between two 'student groups' 

It's still unclear what propelled Jones to open fire at the early Friday morning fraternity party. Police say the shooting happened after a fight broke out between two 'student groups' 

Jones sports an NAU hooded sweatshirt in a photo posted to his Instagram account 

Jones sports an NAU hooded sweatshirt in a photo posted to his Instagram account 

Student Maria Gonzalez was awake when the shooting happened, and says she first suspected the gunfire was just firecrackers. 

'I was studying for an exam so I looked out the window and see two people running, and that's when I realized they weren't fireworks they were actually gunshots,' she said.

Students were notified of the shooting through a text message alert system, but because of a glitch - most students never got the first warning of the shooting and were only notified later once Jones was in custody. 

NAU freshman Mackenzie Cutrone told the New York Daily News: 'That’s what’s absolutely crazy. The only way I found out about all of this was because of Twitter and Yik Yak.' 

NAU President Rita Cheng also spoke at the morning press conference, describing the tragic shooting at 'isolated and unprecedented'.  

Students embrace outside a hospital emergency room in Flagstaff, Arizisona on Friday after the shooting

Students embrace outside a hospital emergency room in Flagstaff, Arizisona on Friday after the shooting

Dozens of students were present at 6am Friday morning for a press conference on the shooting 

Dozens of students were present at 6am Friday morning for a press conference on the shooting 

The early morning press conference was an emotional affair for many of the students gathered
The early morning press conference was an emotional affair for many of the students gathered

The early morning press conference was an emotional affair for many of the students gathered 

However, she said that classes would go on. 

'This is not going to be a normal day at NAU,' she said. 'Our hearts are heavy.'

Following the shooting, Arizona Senator John McCain issued a statement, saying his thoughts and prayers were with the victims and their families.

'I appreciate the efforts of all state and local law enforcement officials, first-responders and school administrators, and continue to pray for the recovery of the injured, as well as all those in the NAU community who have been impacted by this terrible tragedy,' Senator McCain said. 

NAU plays a major role in the northern Arizona city of Flagstaff. The 4-year public university has more than 25,000 total undergraduates.

The Friday morning shooting marked the 144th shooting at a school since the Sandy Hook massacre. 

The shooting comes just one week after a shooting at Umpqua Community College on Oregon, which left 10 dead and nine injured. President Obama is set to visit that school today.

Mountain View Hall is an all-Greek dorm, housing most of the campus' fraternity and sorority members. Above, a view of the dorm

Mountain View Hall is an all-Greek dorm, housing most of the campus' fraternity and sorority members. Above, a view of the dorm

Witnesses say that the shooting happened as a party was breaking up in the parking lot adjacent to Mountain View dorm. Above a view of the scene  

Witnesses say that the shooting happened as a party was breaking up in the parking lot adjacent to Mountain View dorm. Above a view of the scene  

 

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