FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (CN) – The parents of a Northern Arizona University student killed during an October 2015 campus shooting claim in court the shooter’s parents gave him the handgun he used despite knowing he was immature and prone to outbursts.
The parents of deceased student Colin Brough and two students injured in the shooting, Nicholas Piring and Nicholas Prato, filed the lawsuit June 30 in Coconino County Superior Court. The lawsuit names shooter Steven Jones, his mother and father Rose Anna and Warren Jones, and the father’s firearm supply and training business Shooter’s Choice of Arizona as defendants.
Throughout the criminal trial against Steven Jones, which ended with a hung jury in May, both the prosecution and defense operated under the assumption that Steven knew how to use a handgun.
According to the lawsuit, Steven’s father taught his son how to use a gun and through his business also trained police officers and other officials how to own and operate a handgun. In his teenage years, Steven had completed 10 to 12 shooting competitions.
“Since age 8 his father has trained him to aim for center mass,” the plaintiffs say in the lawsuit. “And to use a ‘double-tap’ technique in which the shooter draws and fires two rounds at the same target in under a second.”
Steven admitted after the shooting to firing his Glock 22 and was charged with one count of first-degree murder for the death of Brough and six counts of aggravated assault, according to the lawsuit.
The plaintiffs say at the time of the incident, Steven “was known to be immature for his age and was prone to outbursts and/or to defy directions from authority figures.”
Furthermore, they say Steven’s father Warren gave his son the gun used in the shooting despite knowing he’d commit a crime with it.
“Warren Jones and/or Shooter’s Choice of Arizona LLC violated Arizona law by supplying, selling or giving possession or control of the .40-caliber Glock 22 to Steven Jones knowing or having reason to know that Steven Jones would use the firearm in the commission of any felony,” the plaintiffs say in their 15-page lawsuit.
The victims also cite a 2014 injunction against harassment granted against Steven by the parents of his then-girlfriend as evidence of his immaturity.
According to the victims, Steven’s parents should have also been aware of complaints made about their son while he was a freshman at NAU.
In one instance, an unnamed instructor reported she removed Steven from class twice for using his cellphone and that he “appeared to have difficulty making friends.” His resident hall director also reported that during Steven’s short time at the school, he received several noise complaints.
The shooting took place at the smallest of Arizona’s three universities. It started off as a fight outside an apartment near campus, and eventually ended on campus with Colin Brough dead. Steven was not armed during the initial fight and left to retrieve his handgun from his vehicle – returning to eventually fire it at four students, according to the lawsuit.
Of the four victims and Steven, only Steven was sober at the time of the shooting. Jones claims he was acting in self-defense.
A retrial of the criminal charges against Steven kicks off Aug. 1.
The plaintiffs’ claims include assault and battery, aggravated negligence, negligent entrustment and infliction of emotional distress. They are represented by Louis Diesel of Aspey, Watkins & Diesel in Flagstaff, Arizona.
A third student injured in the shooting, Kyle Zientek, is not a plaintiff in the case.
Attorneys representing Steven Jones could not be reached for comment by press time.