Mother of NAU shooting witness wants son honored at graduation

Posted at 6:52 PM, Apr 30, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-01 08:10:03-04

A student who testified in the Northern Arizona University trial has died, according to family members.

Nick Acevedo, 23, took his own life back in March at home near NAU's campus, according to officials.

Acevedo was a witness to the 2015 shooting on NAU's campus where four students were shot, and one was killed.

RELATED: Judge declares mistrial in NAU shooting case

Karen, Nick's mother, wants his name to be read at NAU's graduation ceremony in May. But NAU has declined the family's request.

NAU spokesperson Kimberly Ott released this statement to ABC15:

It is an unfortunate reality that several students die from illness, accidents, or even suicide during an academic year. It is NAU's policy to present a degree posthumously if substantial degree credits have been earned. Nick Acevedo achieved the number of credits needed to earn a diploma. As is our practice, NAU offered Nick's family the option of having the President present Nick's diploma to them in a private ceremony, much like what was done with Colin Brough's family.

NAU does not present posthumous degrees at venues where other students are celebrating their own accomplishments, such as a commencement exercise.

"This has been a horrible two and half years, and I think they can make an exception to their policy," Karen said.

Back in 2015, Acevedo was one of the first people to run over to help NAU student Colin Brough, who died after being shot in the altercation.

Acevedo was a key witness in Steven Jones' trial back in 2017, where a jury deadlocked.

Jones says he acted in self-defense. His retrial is set for this summer.