NAU community remains strong after shooting tragedy

Students and staff unite and march for solidarity.

AP Photo/Arizona Daily Sun, Taylor Mahoney
Thousands of students and staff join together Tuesday afternoon and march through campus to show support for the shooting victims.

Daniela Acosta, Managing Editor

The shooting that occurred at Northern Arizona University on the morning of Oct. 9 shook the entire campus community but failed to knock them down. The strength of NAU’s community became evident after students and staff have shown their immense support for the victims and for each other, both online and offline, in the recent days following the tragedy.

Last Friday’s shooting was a result of a confrontation between two groups of fraternity members that escalated from a verbal to a physical fight. In the middle of the fight, a student pulled out a gun and left one student dead and three others injured. 18-year-old freshman Steven Jones has been identified as the shooter.

“[Jones] ran to his car, retrieved his gun and then went back to the fight,” said Deputy Coconino County Attorney Ammon Barker.

Classes were not cancelled following the incident but students noted that the atmosphere of the campus was different and it was obvious that the community had been deeply affected by what occurred that morning.

The night of the shooting, thousands of NAU students and staff gathered at North Quad and held a candlelight vigil as a show of their support for the victims and their families.

Over the past couple of days, students have also been using the hashtag #NAUStrong on Twitter to express their support for the community and to show that despite the tragedy, the community will continue to remain strong and move forward together.

NAU students and staff gathered together Tuesday afternoon for a march through campus in memory of Colin Brough, the freshman student who was killed and the three other students who were injured.

Around 2,000 people participated in the march that was led by NAU President Rita Cheng and Flagstaff Mayor Jerry Nabours, beginnning at the W.A. Franke College of Business and ending at the Old Main building. The president herself encouraged that professors allowed their students to leave class and participate in the march.

“I am deeply moved by the outpouring of support we have received from our students and their families, our faculty and staff, our alumni… Over the last few days, I have also drawn strength from the resiliency of our students,” said Cheng during her speech at the march. “Your message was one of solidarity, reminding us all to be united and remain NAU strong.”

This shooting has greatly impacted the lives of the five families involved but has also demonstrated the incredible sense of community and support that can be found at NAU and their resiliency in the face of tragedy.