A 18-year-old student killed a classmate and wounded three other students when he opened fire during a confrontation on the campus of Northern Arizona University early on Friday, in the latest shooting to hit a US school, authorities said.
The suspected gunman, Steven Jones, a freshman at the state university in northern Arizona, was taken into custody following the shooting, campus police chief Gregory Fowler said.
Jones was charged with first-degree murder and three counts of aggravated assault and was ordered held on $2 million bond at a brief court appearance.
Fowler said Jones pulled the handgun in a confrontation with several students.
The university identified the student who was killed as Colin Brough. Brough was from Annapolis, Maryland, according to an online article by the Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis.
The three injured students, identified as Nicholas Prato, Kyle Zientek and Nicholas Piring, suffered multiple gunshot wounds and were being treated at Flagstaff Medical Centre, Fowler said. Their conditions were not disclosed.
The shooting occurred just hours before President Barack Obama was scheduled to visit Roseburg, Oregon, to meet privately with families of the nine people killed in a mass shooting at a community college there last week.
Northern Arizona University, with a student body of about 20,000, is located in the mountain city of Flagstaff, about 140 miles north of Phoenix, and about 80 miles south of the Grand Canyon.
A university spokesperson said Friday’s incident occurred in a parking lot next to a residence hall for Greek organisations - fraternities and sororities - around 1:20am.
“We don’t know the facts yet about what brought them together, or what caused the confrontation,” Fowler said.
Delta Chi International Fraternity executive director Justin Sherman said the four victims were members of the fraternity but the alleged gunman was not.
Jones, who did not try to flee, was arrested by university police and was cooperating with authorities, Fowler said. He said guns are not allowed to be carried on campus.
Classes continued on Friday, university president Rita Cheng told a news conference, calling the incident isolated.
Arizona governor Doug Ducey and US senator John McCain, both Republicans, extended thoughts and prayers to the victims and their families.
Obama reacted to the killings in Oregon by vowing to step up efforts to curb US gun violence. Gun rights advocates said the Oregon shootings underscored the importance of the right of Americans to bear arms and defend themselves.
Just hours after the Arizona shooting, police said one person was killed and another wounded in a shooting at an apartment complex near the campus of Texas Southern University in Houston, and a suspect had been taken into custody.