NAU student and witness recalls Oct. 9 shooting

Chase Jones recalls the night of Oct. 9 and the aftermath of the tragic shooting


Courtesy of Jonathan Pena

View from Pi Kappa Phi Mountain View Hall at NAU, where the shooting took place.

Stephen Sanicola, Sports Editor, Scottsdale Chronicle

Scottsdale Chronicle sports editor Stephen Sanicola is a personal acquaintance of Chase Jones, a witness to the Oct. 9, 2015 shooting aftermath on the campus of Northern Arizona University. Sanicola recently interviewed Chase Jones for the Scottsdale Chronicle.

On Oct. 9, 2015, Northern Arizona University student Colin Brough was shot and killed on campus outside of the Mountain View Residence Hall sometime after 1 a.m.

It has been six months since the tragic event and six months after one of the most chaotic incidents NAU has ever experienced. The tragic event has given rise to deep reflection for NAU student Chase Jones, a witness to the aftermath of the incident. He found himself in a face-to-face confrontation with shooter Steven Jones (no relation) and recalls trying to persuade him to “just put the gun down.” Steven Jones was later arrested and subsequently charged with first-degree murder and aggravated assault.

A trial date of April 4, 2017 has been set for Steven Jones. Coconino County judge Dan Slayton also ordered Steven Jones to be released to the custody of his parents in Glendale, but under the strict supervision of the Maricopa County probation office.

Chase Jones is a sophomore at NAU and a member of the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity. He was having a casual late night on Oct. 9. He remembers leaving his room to refill his jug of water in the downstairs lobby of Mountain View Hall right before the commotion outside erupted.

“I went downstairs to fill up my gallon jug of water,” Chase Jones said. “I saw Kameron, our former RA (Residence Assistant) who was working the desk that night in the lobby. I made it about half way over to the front desk to talk to him and these other RA’s came over and said, “Hey, we need to lock down the ‘View,’ we just heard gunshots from the parking lot.”

Chase Jones sprinted over to a window that overlooks the parking lot in order to see if Jose’s (a friend he refers to as his “big brother”) car was still located in the parking lot.

“When I was looking out there I couldn’t see Jose’s car anymore,” Chase Jones said. “But I could see this girl who was in all white, out there and was helping somebody on the ground.”

Chase Jones told the RA’s to call the police and ran out the parking lot to try and help. As he reached the parking lot he realized the girl in all white pajamas was helping one of the victims on the ground.

“I was standing underneath a tree, kind of looking at the whole thing trying to assess what was going one and what needed to be done,” Chase Jones said. “I went up to this guy and I’m like, ‘Hey what’s going on?’ and as soon as I did that he took his left hand and put it behind his back. I was kind of looking at him some more and I could see the butt of the hand gun behind his back and I was like ‘oh…this is the guy.’”

The man holding the gun behind his back would later be identified as Steven Jones.

Steven Jones began to proclaim that it was self-defense and that the victims were attacking him. Chase Jones proceeded to ask the shooter if he would just put the gun down, which the shooter initially refused.

The shooter turned around and pointed with his other hand at a man who was standing a little further away and claiming that the man “keeps trying to take my gun.”

‘”Hey, I won’t let him take your gun,'” Chase Jones said. ‘”I don’t want your gun. So if you could just put it down.'”

Chase Jones recalled that Steven Jones finally agreed to drop the weapon and said as soon as he put the gun down, the man from afar started walking forward. Chase Jones began to yell at the man to stay away and soon after, Chase Jones recalled that Steven Jones walked away looking “zombified.”

Moments later the police showed up, screaming at everyone to get down on the ground. Chase Jones yelled out at the cops, letting them know where the weapon was located so that the ambulances could move in. The police initially placed Chase Jones in handcuffs and asked if he was the shooter.

‘”No, I’m not the shooter,'” Chase Jones said. ‘”But I can ID him if you take me over to the front (of the lot). He’s the first person you guys grabbed.'”

Chase Jones would be released from his cuffs about 25 minutes later and was questioned at the police station where he gave a formal statement.

It wasn’t until a few hours later that what had happened finally hit him.

“I didn’t really focus on what had happened or what I had been a part of until three or four hours later,” Chase Jones said. “After the adrenaline had come down and I talked to my family and listened to them freak out on the phone, it was hard. It also opened my eyes in the aspect of what kind of job field I want to go into and really redefined my future,” Chase Jones said.

Chase Jones is still enrolled at NAU and is now also registered at Coconino Community College, where he has decided to secure his EMT certificate program in order to work in paramedical science.

When asked if he thought he NAU security or the police should have done anything differently, there was one thing that came to his mind. Chase Jones felt that classes should have been shut down after the tragic incident since many students were not emotionally equipped to handle school and were exhausted.

“Overall I think NAU handled the situation well,” Chase Jones said. “The police arrived quickly and were very professional.”

Chase Jones has been called a “hero,” a reference he soundly rejects. But nonetheless, the Arizona Republic filed a story on titled “Just Put the Gun Down, Heroic NAU student told Steven Jones.”

Being a witness to a tragic shooting incident has made Chase Jones pause and reflect but he is moving forward. Still, like some other NAU students, Chase Jones has trouble walking through that same parking lot at night.