USC Student Fatally Shot Trying to Enter Wrong House

The 20-year-old student mistook the home for his fraternity house which is located on the same street just blocks from campus.

USC Student Fatally Shot Trying to Enter Wrong House

Photo: wolterke, Adobe Stock

COLUMBIA, S.C. — A 20-year-old University of South Carolina (USC) student was fatally shot Saturday when he accidentally tried to enter the wrong house on the street where he lived.

Columbia Police said Nicholas Donofrio mistakenly went to the wrong South Holly Street home around 2 a.m. and attempted to enter by repeatedly knocking, banging, and kicking the front door, reports ABC 7. A woman who lives at the house called 911 while the homeowner went to retrieve a firearm.

“While the female was still on the phone with emergency dispatchers, Donofrio broke the front door glass window and reached in to manipulate the doorknob,” according to the police statement. “At that time, the male resident fired a single shot through the broken door window striking Donofrio in the upper body.”

Police initially went to the home to investigate a report of a burglary in progress but it was upgraded to a “shots fired” call while en route. When officers arrived, they found Donofrio deceased on the front porch. Donofrio’s family says they had just last week helped move him into the school’s Phi Kappa Sigma fraternity house which is on the same street and located several blocks from campus.

Investigators determined the homeowner was in legal possession of a firearm. No charges will be filed due to several factors, including evidence gathered at the scene, a review of surveillance video, audio evidence, and witness statements, according to police. The incident was deemed a “justifiable homicide” and police said the homeowner’s name will not be released.

Police also said they are awaiting toxicology reports “to determine the victim’s type and level of impairment.” Donofrio’s parents said their son was studying applied exercise science and had transferred to USC after playing basketball at the University of New England.

The shooting occurred less than 72 hours after the university’s fall semester began. USC officials released a statement indicating its Student Affairs team will be “providing resources and support to those who may be affected by this tragedy.”

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About the Author

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Amy is Campus Safety’s Executive Editor. Prior to joining the editorial team in 2017, she worked in both events and digital marketing.

Amy has many close relatives and friends who are teachers, motivating her to learn and share as much as she can about campus security. She has a minor in education and has worked with children in several capacities, further deepening her passion for keeping students safe.

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