FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - Thursday, the officer who arrested Steven Jones, his friends and the student who may have taken the first swing leading to the Northern Arizona University shooting took the witness stand in Steven Jones' trial.
NAU student Austin Contreras took the stand to recount the events leading up to the shooting. He said he was at a party with the victims when defendant Steven Jones and his friends arrived and were asked to leave.
Contreras admitted he was drunk and in his words, “acting stupid.” He said after Jones left, he and others followed him across the street, harassing Jones and his friends.
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Contreras said when things escalated, he took a swing at someone.
“It was dark. I just remember seeing a tall blonde kid. I was definitely drunk,” Contreras said, adding he hit the person in the “general cheek area.”
Contreras didn’t remember whether the person he punched was wearing glasses, but said he could’ve been.
Contreras testified after the punch, everyone scattered. He heard shots about a minute later and ran back to find the victim, Colin Brough, gasping for air. Brough later died.
Jones claimed he fired in self-defense because he was being bullied and attacked.
Thursday, two of Jones’s friends out with him that night told similar stories.
They said they unexpectedly were followed by drunk upperclassmen who harassed and pushed some of them to the ground. They said Jones took a hit to the face, but couldn’t confirm who threw the punch.
Though Jacob Mike and Shay McConnell were trying to get away from the situation, they both said they didn’t feel their lives were in danger.
When the prosecution asked McConnell whether he was excited to see the defendant show up with a gun, McConnell replied, “No … a gun wasn’t necessary.”
Mike spoke of the moments right after the first rounds were fired.
“Someone was choking Steven and he was saying something and I tried to pull him off and after we, I told him, ‘We have to help your friend. What are you doing?’ And we did that and we were both, all three of us, were kneeled next to one of the victims,” Mike said.
The defense argued Jones asked his friend to call police after the shooting and put the gun down when another witness who didn’t know either party, Chase Jones, told him it was OK to do so. Chase Jones confirmed this during his testimony Thursday.
The trial was originally expected to last five weeks, but Judge Dan Slayton said things were moving along quickly.