The Northern Arizona University Police Department released video and documents this week that help illuminate what happened right before and right after Steven Jones, a freshman charged with the October 9 shooting at NAU that killed one student and injured three others, opened fire.
Jones, who pleaded “not guilty” to one count of first-degree murder and six counts of aggravated assault had substantial injuries at the time of his arrest, police say.
“While speaking to Steven, I observed several injuries on his head, back, chest, arms, [knees and left wrist],” Officer Kenneth Hunter wrote in the incident report.
Though the vast majority of the six-page document is redacted, this detail is important, as Jones has said from the very beginning that he shot the four students in self-defense during a fight.
Jones' told police that he was with a few friends near Mountain View Hall on the NAU campus in the early hours of October 9 when a group of students approached them and picked a fight. Jones alleges that one of the students punched him in the face and that some of them followed him when he ran to his car to retrieve his gun.
He shot four students: Colin Brough, who died on the scene, as well as Nicholas Prato, Kyle Zientek, and Nicholas Piring, all of whom were taken to a Flagstaff Hospital with injuries.
It remains unclear why the fight began and whether Jones or any of the others involved were under the influence of drugs or alcohol – police still are waiting on the results of blood and urine tests, Flagstaff's Arizona Daily Sun reports – but what is clear is that in the moments after the shooting occurred, chaos ensued. Recently released, heavily redacted, police body-camera video from NAU Officer Matthew Hinte, one of the responding cops, offers a glimpse into the confusing and tense situation.
The tape begins at 1:24 a.m., with many voices yelling all at once: “Where's the other guy?” and “get on the ground?”
One young man points out the gun – later identified as Jones' .40-caliber Glock 22 – while Hinte radios in for backup “body units” while others continue handcuffing all those standing nearby.
“Is an ambulance coming?” one man can be heard asking as another wails: “I need an ambulance...Please!”
Over the sound of heavy inhales and exhales, Hinte says that “he's still breathing.”
“He has a hole in his chest,” another voice that sounds slightly farther away replies.
After announcing that the gun has been retrieved – “secured” – a voice can be heard telling the officers: “I swear, he fucking took off and shot both our friends.”
“Which way did he go?” an officer responds.
“I don't know,” the young man says, drawing out the last syllable in a panicky whine.
About a minute and a half into the video, an officer can be seen administering CPR on a young man as the voices of those around him begin screaming that he's not breathing. The video cuts out, and the next few minutes of tape are redacted.
When it picks back up, at 1:32 a.m., the officer wearing the camera is told that the suspect, Jones, is in the back of another cop's car.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Phoenix New Times's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Phoenix's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
According to the police, Jones admitted that he was the shooter but added that he acted in self-defense.
Stephen Jones remains in custody on a $2 million bond. He has waived his right to attend his arraignment next week, court documents show. His next court date is a case-management conference on November 24 at the Coconino County Superior Court.
(Watch the full body camera video courtesy of the Fox News YouTube Channel)