Student charged with second-degree murder in Arizona shooting

Reuters News
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Posted: Oct 14, 2015 6:56 PM

By David Schwartz

PHOENIX (Reuters) - A Northern Arizona University freshman suspected of killing one student and wounding three others during a shooting at the school last week has been charged with second-degree murder, court documents showed on Wednesday.

Steven Edward Jones, 18, also faces six counts of assault stemming from Friday's confrontation on the state university campus in Flagstaff, Arizona, according to a formal complaint filed in state court.

Jones initially faced a count of first-degree murder, but police downgraded the charge after deciding the teenage suspect lacked premeditation in the murder of 20-year-old Colin Brough.

Jones, who remains in jail on a $2 million bond, faces the assault charges for allegedly wounding Nicholas Prato, Kyle Zientek and Nicholas Piring during the shooting, court documents showed.

His attorney, Burges McCowan, declined to comment on the revised charges on Wednesday.

Authorities say Jones opened fire with a handgun at about 1:20 a.m. outside a residence hall for fraternities and sororities. Jones remained on the scene and was arrested by university police.

Police said guns are not allowed to be carried on campus.

All the victims were members of the Delta Chi fraternity, while Jones was a Sigma Chi pledge at the time, officials said.

Jones has since been removed from the program and the chapter's operations have been suspended pending an investigation of the incident, Sigma Chi said in a statement.

The shooting at the 20,000-student campus about 140 miles north of Phoenix was the latest in a series of shootings at or near U.S. schools in recent years.

Hours later, police said one person was killed and another wounded in a shooting at an apartment complex near Texas Southern University in Houston. A suspect was taken into custody.

The shootings occurred on the same day President Barack Obama visited Roseburg, Oregon, to meet privately with families of the nine people killed in a mass shooting at a community college there.

Jones is next scheduled to appear in court in northern Arizona for a preliminary hearing on Monday, officials said.

(Reporting by David Schwartz; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Peter Cooney)