ABC News’ ‘20/20: A Chance Encounter’ chronicles how simmering tensions and confrontation between two groups of students led to a shootout at a parking lot in Flagstaff, Arizona, in 2015. Once the dust settled, Colin Brough was dead, with three of his friends injured. The triggerman was Steve Jones, then only a teenager. So, if you’re curious about what happened to Steve in the aftermath and where he might be today, we’ve got you covered.
Who is Steve Jones?
Steven “Steve” Edward Jones was raised in Glendale, Arizona, and was homeschooled by his mother. Growing up, he played musical instruments and liked photography. His father, Warren Jones, was in the Navy and was a National Rifle Association certified instructor. So, Steve grew up around guns, with his father teaching him hunting and self-defense. Warren even bought his son a firearm before the then 18-year-old moved to the university.
It was reported that Steve was in trouble in the past; in July 2014, the parents of a girl he had been dating filed an injunction against him. According to them, he didn’t follow their prior agreement of meeting the girl only when the parents were there. Court records indicated that the 16-year-old girl ran to Steve’s house, and the parents alleged she admitted to smoking marijuana and having sex. By August 2015, Steve was in Flagstaff to attend Northern Arizona University. While he had some difficulty adjusting to the new life, he seemed to be doing much better later.
On October 8, 2015, Steve studied for an entrance exam for the Sigma Chi fraternity before heading out to a party with Shay McConnell, Jake Mike, and Hunter Todd. They parked Steve’s car in a lot and played video games at the party for about an hour. As per the show, Steve said he only had a sip of beer, with his blood test confirming no traces of alcohol or cannabis. At some point during the early morning hours of October 9, 2015, the group realized that Hunter was missing.
The trouble started when they checked at the apartment that had a Delta Chi party going on. However, Hunter was at a different party. A group of Delta Chi partygoers confronted Steve and his two friends. Nick Piring, one of Colin Brough’s friends, said that Colin was asking Steve and his friends to leave and had been shouting obscenities at them. Steve added that the group threatened to kill them as well. During the commotion, someone punched Steve in the face, leading him to lose his glasses and dental bridge. He and his friends began running toward his car.
Steve told the police that he found the key fob to unlock his car but couldn’t find the other key that went into the ignition. So, he grabbed the Glock from his glove box. While Steve initially recalled standing two or three feet away from his car when he fired the first time, evidence revealed that he walked 90 feet to confront the group. Steve then pointed the gun with the flashlight at the people and claimed that he fired when Colin and Piring charged at him. Both were shot twice each, with Colin ultimately succumbing to his injuries.
Steve said he put the gun away to attempt first aid at the two students. But he claimed someone tried to take the firearm and put him in a chokehold. In the resulting struggle, Steve got a hold of his gun and fired into the air. At the time, Steve believed he would be killed if he let the others take the gun. But his firing into the air resulted in two others being injured. Out of the ten rounds that Steve fired, seven hit the students. After that, he walked up to the police and admitted responsibility for the shootings. Steve was scared as he was put in the patrol car and asked if he could call his mother.
Where is Steve Jones Today?
At Steve Jones’ trial in April 2017, his lawyers claimed self-defense, asserting that he feared for his life when the shots were fired. However, the prosecution said that Steve was reckless and questioned him regarding why he didn’t just stay in his car during the incident. However, in May 2017, a mistrial was declared in Steve’s case after the jury remained deadlocked. The jurors couldn’t agree on what charges Steve was guilty of.
Then, after several delays, in January 2020, Steve pled guilty to one count of manslaughter and three counts of aggravated assault. Then 23, he was sentenced to serve six years in prison. Steve said in court, “If it were possible, I would in a heartbeat right now trade places with Colin Brough. If he could be home with his family and I could be dead, I would do that. But that’s not possible.” Prison records indicate that he remains incarcerated at the Whetstone Unit in Tucson, Arizona. He will be eligible for release in August 2024.
Read More: Where Are Colin Brough’s Parents Today?