College student fatally shot after trying to enter the wrong home

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By VT

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Nicholas Donofrio, a 20-year-old student from the University of South Carolina, tragically lost his life just two days into his junior year.

The unfortunate incident occurred when he mistakenly attempted to enter a residence he believed to be his off-campus home.

Nicholas, an exercise science major and a member of the Phi Kappa Sigma fraternity, had recently set up a new home alongside four of his closest friends. As he returned around 2:00AM on Saturday, he unknowingly approached a residence a few doors down from his own on South Holly Street.

The City of Columbia police reported that Nicholas was mistakenly identified as a burglar and was fatally shot on the spot.

The Donofrio family, while devastated, has refrained from commenting on this heartbreaking tragedy. They remember Nicholas as a "loving" and compassionate individual, a young man who had a promising future awaiting him.

Details about the shooter's identity remain undisclosed. They could potentially argue self-defense under South Carolina's "stand your ground" legislation.

Nicholas hailed from Connecticut, where he completed his education at Daniel Hand High School in 2021.

Jimmy Economopoulos, his previous basketball coach, fondly reminisced about Nicholas, who was captain of the varsity basketball team in his final high school year. "It’s heartbreaking. When (I heard) the news, my heart just sank," said Mr. Economopoulos to CT Insider.

"He was just a smart, engaging, charismatic young man. … It wasn’t the phone call I was expecting to get yesterday, that’s for sure."

After making the move from the University of New England to the University of South Carolina in 2021, Nicholas pursued a degree in kinesiology and exercise science. His LinkedIn profile provides more details about his academic journey.

Only last week, his parents were assisting him in relocating to a residence near the Phi Kappa Sigma fraternity's off-campus house.

"[Nick was] a great son, loving, compassionate, all the traits you would want in a son," his grieving parents shared with WTNH.

As per reports, a 911 call was placed in the early hours of August 26 about a supposed burglary on South Holly Street. This incident quickly escalated to a shooting. The unfortunate event has left the community in shock, with neighbor Kate Reynolds sharing her thoughts with WLTX.

"This is usually such a more welcoming and friendly neighbourhood than that," she remarked.

The investigation is actively ongoing, with the City of Columbia Police Department collaborating with the solicitor’s office to ascertain the sequence of events and determine if any charges should be levied.

South Carolina's "stand your ground" laws are comprehensive. Individuals are legally permitted to use lethal force without the obligation to retreat if they are rightfully present in a location (such as their residence) and are not participating in illegal activities.

The University of South Carolina, responding to this tragedy, assured that assistance is available for those deeply affected by Nicholas's untimely death.

They issued a statement: "Our Student Affairs team is providing resources and support to those who may be affected by this tragedy, and we remind all of our students that help is always available to them."

Featured image credit: Sean Rayford / Getty

College student fatally shot after trying to enter the wrong home

vt-author-image

By VT

Article saved!Article saved!

Nicholas Donofrio, a 20-year-old student from the University of South Carolina, tragically lost his life just two days into his junior year.

The unfortunate incident occurred when he mistakenly attempted to enter a residence he believed to be his off-campus home.

Nicholas, an exercise science major and a member of the Phi Kappa Sigma fraternity, had recently set up a new home alongside four of his closest friends. As he returned around 2:00AM on Saturday, he unknowingly approached a residence a few doors down from his own on South Holly Street.

The City of Columbia police reported that Nicholas was mistakenly identified as a burglar and was fatally shot on the spot.

The Donofrio family, while devastated, has refrained from commenting on this heartbreaking tragedy. They remember Nicholas as a "loving" and compassionate individual, a young man who had a promising future awaiting him.

Details about the shooter's identity remain undisclosed. They could potentially argue self-defense under South Carolina's "stand your ground" legislation.

Nicholas hailed from Connecticut, where he completed his education at Daniel Hand High School in 2021.

Jimmy Economopoulos, his previous basketball coach, fondly reminisced about Nicholas, who was captain of the varsity basketball team in his final high school year. "It’s heartbreaking. When (I heard) the news, my heart just sank," said Mr. Economopoulos to CT Insider.

"He was just a smart, engaging, charismatic young man. … It wasn’t the phone call I was expecting to get yesterday, that’s for sure."

After making the move from the University of New England to the University of South Carolina in 2021, Nicholas pursued a degree in kinesiology and exercise science. His LinkedIn profile provides more details about his academic journey.

Only last week, his parents were assisting him in relocating to a residence near the Phi Kappa Sigma fraternity's off-campus house.

"[Nick was] a great son, loving, compassionate, all the traits you would want in a son," his grieving parents shared with WTNH.

As per reports, a 911 call was placed in the early hours of August 26 about a supposed burglary on South Holly Street. This incident quickly escalated to a shooting. The unfortunate event has left the community in shock, with neighbor Kate Reynolds sharing her thoughts with WLTX.

"This is usually such a more welcoming and friendly neighbourhood than that," she remarked.

The investigation is actively ongoing, with the City of Columbia Police Department collaborating with the solicitor’s office to ascertain the sequence of events and determine if any charges should be levied.

South Carolina's "stand your ground" laws are comprehensive. Individuals are legally permitted to use lethal force without the obligation to retreat if they are rightfully present in a location (such as their residence) and are not participating in illegal activities.

The University of South Carolina, responding to this tragedy, assured that assistance is available for those deeply affected by Nicholas's untimely death.

They issued a statement: "Our Student Affairs team is providing resources and support to those who may be affected by this tragedy, and we remind all of our students that help is always available to them."

Featured image credit: Sean Rayford / Getty