Witnesses testify about deadly NAU shootingPosted: Updated:
Witnesses to a deadly shooting on the campus of Northern Arizona University in October 2015 took the stand Friday in the murder trial of Steven Jones, 20.
Jones is charged with first-degree murder for allegedly killing fellow student Colin Brough. He's also charged with three counts of aggravated assault for allegedly shooting and injuring three of Brough’s Delta Chi fraternity brothers, Nicholas Piring, Nicholas Prato and Kyle Zientek.
Prosecutors say Jones' actions were premeditated when he retrieved his gun from his vehicle and shot the four students.
Jones' attorney says his client was punched, bullied and scared, and shot in self-defense.
Many of those who testified Friday saw at least part of what happened from their dorm room windows.
Several of them were alerted when they heard two groups of guys having an intense argument outside Mountain View Hall on NAU’s campus. It was about 1 a.m.
[Special section: NAU shooting]
Courtney Waked told jurors at first she just thought the commotion was just a bunch of drunk guys messing around.
“Words started escalating when I heard gunshots. I was taken aback. I didn't see that coming,” said Waked.
The NAU junior testified that she did not see the physical altercation, but on cross-examination, Jones’ attorney got Waked to say that she did see a guy wearing white charge at someone just before the shooting took place.
Miqui Scollard, 23, said she looked out her dorm window after hearing the shots. Scollard told jurors she remembers seeing someone in a white shirt charging someone and then hearing someone say, “I don’t want to do this.”
After the first few shots, Scollard said she told her roommate to call 911 and she ran outside to help the fallen victims.
“I ran to the first person that was on the ground and that would be Nick Piring. I put my left palm on his right shoulder, my right palm on his hip. He was screaming and crying. I remember pretty much holding him. I was telling the boys everything is going to be alright. I remember the boys … everyone is still screaming and there was another round of gunshots,” said Scollard.
At that point, Scollard said, she fully expected to be shot in the back.
“After the second round of gunshots, the boys were screaming, ‘He dropped the gun. He dropped the gun,’ and I told him, I told all of them, 'don't touch,'” said Scollard.
The fitness and wellness major was visibly upset as she recalled seeing Brough on the ground behind her, fatally shot.
“I kept looking back at Colin and seeing him try to pretty much live, you know? Struggling. But I couldn’t leave Nick. Like I said, 'I can’t, I can’t leave you, you’re bleeding pretty bad and I’m just going to stay with you.' And I was screaming at the boys, someone to run to Colin and put their hands on him and try to stop any blood. Anything that they could do,” said Scollad.
NAU graduate Michelle Leonard was visiting a friend on the fourth floor of Mountain View Hall when the shooting took place.
Leonard said she heard arguing and walked to the window and within thirty seconds saw the shooting. She described the shooter as looking talk and lanky from her view.
“There was a light on the gun. He seemed confident in what he was doing. He was standing shoulders back,” said Leonard of Jones, who she did not know at the time.
A couple of Flagstaff police officers also testified on Friday. They talked about the chaotic scene they rolled up on, finding four people shot and not knowing if someone was still armed and planning to shoot.
On-body video from one of the officers played on the big screen in the courtroom. On it, you can see the young men on the ground, with people trying to help them. You could also here them yelling out in pain along with officer commands for everyone to get on the ground.
The testimony surrounding the aftermath is emotionally charged. Jurors will have to weed through all that and based their decision on whether or not Jones’ shooting was murder or self-defense.
Prosecutors are not pursuing the death penalty in the trial, which began Wednesday and is expected to last five weeks.
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