NAU shooting victim's mom credits miracle for son's survival

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Nick and Kimberly Prato. Nick and Kimberly Prato.
Nick Prato (Source: Facebook) Nick Prato (Source: Facebook)
Text message to us from Kimberly Prato. Text message to us from Kimberly Prato.
Nick Prato and Abbey Norcutt (Source: Kimberly Prato) Nick Prato and Abbey Norcutt (Source: Kimberly Prato)
FLAGSTAFF, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

The mother of one of the victims in Friday's shooting at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff said, according to doctors, her son is lucky to be alive. 

"My son is alive and I'm glad we have a son to hug and to hold because there are parents coming up here to Flagstaff to bury their son," Kimberly Prato said.

Prato's son, Nick, was one of four Delta Chi fraternity members shot on the NAU campus. We spoke with her over the phone after she flew to Phoenix from California to be by her son's side. Nick Prato was shot through the neck.

[RELATED: 1 student killed, 3 wounded at NAU in Flagstaff]

"I was told when the hole was open you could see the carotid artery move. The kid should be dead. It's a miracle he's alive," Kimberly Prato said. "He told me two doctors told him that."

Prato says her son did not know the gunman. He said he heard gunshots, then went to aid his friend, who was lying on the ground.

"And he was holding his friend and the direction of the bullet wound shows Nick was on the ground when he was shot," Kimberly Prato said. The friend he was holding, Colin Brough, died. According to his Facebook page, Brough is from Maryland and lived in Denver. His LinkedIn profile says he had a 3.5 GPA his first semester at NAU and loved the outdoors.

Amazingly, Nick Prato attended a candlelight vigil Friday night and appeared with a bandage on his neck.

Two other shooting victims are from the Valley. Nick Piring's Facebook page shows he went to Corona Del Sol High School in Tempe. His LinkedIn account shows he was on a full academic scholarship at NAU.

[IMAGES: Police scene, students react]

Kyle Zientek is a junior at NAU. A neighbor says his father is member of the Phoenix Fire Department. The Deer Valley School District says he graduated from Mountain Ridge High School in Glendale in 2013. The district says the alleged gunman also went to the high school in 2014, but transferred out after a few months. It is not known if the two knew each other.

The hospital is not releasing information about the victims' conditions.

All four students were pursing business degrees and all were members of the Delta Chi fraternity.

The Iowa-based fraternity says the alleged gunman was not a member of the fraternity. In a statement the fraternity said, "We are deeply saddened by this tragedy and our thoughts and prayers are with the friends and family of the victims, as well as the entire community in Flagstaff."

"I think we're all in shock and we're all just really grasping at reality, grasping for reality," Prato said.

Prato said her son faces a long recovery.

In a statement, Delta Chi said they're asking for counseling and support from NAU for its members. The fraternity said it plans to fully cooperate with the investigation.

Copyright 2015 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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