Teen accused in fatal NAU campus shooting claims self-defense

Most people in Maricopa County, and throughout Arizona, know that shooting a firearm may lead to criminal charges, particularly if someone is injured or killed. Sometimes, however, those who fire weapons are not acting negligently or engaging in criminal activities. Often, people use their firearms to protect themselves from would-be, or actual, attackers.

According to reports, the 18-year-old who allegedly killed one person and injured three others in a recent shooting on the campus of Northern Arizona University feared for his life. The teen reportedly claimed that a fight broke out and he was struck in the face. After being chased by a group of students, the alleged shooter purportedly retrieved a firearm from his vehicle. His vision was impaired when he fired the weapon because his glasses had been knocked off in the ostensible confrontation.

It is unclear what led to the alleged fight. The teen reportedly claimed he was approached by a group of students while standing in a dorm parking lot with two friends. According to reports, he professed that he did not provoke the alleged assault. It was not disclosed whether his friends, or any other witnesses, corroborated his account of what transpired. As a result of the incident, the teen is facing first-degree murder charges.

Criminal charges for violent crimes, particularly those involving weapons, are often eagerly investigated and prosecuted in Arizona. As such, people who have been charged with murder, or other serious offenses, may benefit from obtaining legal representation. An attorney may help them to establish a strong criminal defense, which may include determining whether they acted in self-defense.

Source: AZFamily.com, “Accused NAU gunman: ‘I shot blindly because my glasses fell off my face’,” Phil Benson, Nov. 21, 2015