A college freshman was killed and three other students were injured in an early-morning shooting at Northern Arizona University that proved to only be the first of two shootings that occurred on college campuses Friday, officials said.
NAU freshman Steven Jones, 18, was charged with one count of first degree murder and three counts of aggravated assault after he was taken into custody without incident for the 1:20 a.m. shooting, NAU said in a statement.
Northern Arizona University Police Chief G.T. Fowler said at a press conference that when a confrontation between two groups of students turned physical, Jones allegedly pulled out a handgun and shot four students, killing one, who NAU officials identified as Colin Brough.
Members of the student body took to social media to express their grief over Brough's death.
Rest in Peace Colin Brough, you will be missed by so many of us. Love you for ever pic.twitter.com/J87Lr3yLP8— Corissa (@Cor_Coe) October 9, 2015
"I just keep wishing I could go back and hug you one more time," the grieving student also wrote.
Surviving victims Nicholas Prato, Kyle Zientek and Nicholas Piring were taken to Flagstaff Medical Center, NAU said in a statement. Further information on their conditions was not immediately available.
All four victims are members of the NAU chapter of the Delti Chi fraternity, the fraternity's national chapter confirmed in a statement to INSIDE EDITION.
“Delta Chi Fraternity was made aware of a shooting early Friday morning involving some of our members at Northern Arizona University. 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," the fraternity said.
The alleged gunman is not a member of Delta Chi, the fraternity said.
"Delta Chi leadership has formally requested the assistance of Northern Arizona University in providing counseling and support to our members on campus. Delta Chi will be providing support to our local chapter and will assist and fully cooperate with law enforcement and the university in their investigation,” the fraternity said.
Those who knew Jones said they could not believe he was capable of such a violent act.
Cody McGinley, who attended a Christian home school co-op with Jones, told AZFamily.com he remembered him as a "cool jock" and "never would have guessed that this would have happened."
Steven jones was a personal friend of mine. My prayers goes out to him and his family, and the victims as well— Rachael (@rach_ann_bbh) October 9, 2015
Officials earlier said that the shooting unfolded outside Mountain View Hall at the Flagstaff campus.
#NAUAlert: Details confirmed 4 victims, 1 fatality, 3 wounded. Shooter is in custody. Situation is stabilized. Campus not on lockdown.— NAU (@NAU) October 9, 2015
The campus was not on lockdown and classes went ahead on Friday. Campus police were working with the Flagstaff Police Department at the scene.
"We awake this morning to a terrible tragedy," university president Rita Cheng said at the news conference on Friday morning. "This is not going to be a normal day at NAU. Our hearts are heavy."
Cheng said the incident was “isolated” and “unprecedented.”
Arizona Senator John McCain said his thoughts and prayers were with the families of the victims. In a statement, he called the incident "horrific."
"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," he said.
Flagstaff is NAU's largest campus, with more than 20,000 students.
The incident was the 144th school shooting since the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012, and came only hours before a shooting at Texas Southern University, where two people were shot - one fatally - at a student housing complex about 11:30 a.m. local time, officials said.
One week ago nine people were shot dead at Umpqua Community College in Oregon, before the gunman reportedly took his own life.
Following that shooting, President Obama said: "Somehow this has become routine. The reporting is routine. My response here at this podium ends up being routine. The conversation in the aftermath of it. We’ve become numb to this."
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