In a tragic turn of events, a sophomore student at the University of South Carolina was shot and killed when he mistakenly tried to enter the wrong home in a neighborhood near the campus. Nicholas Anthony Donofrio, a 20-year-old Connecticut native, had recently moved into a residence near the university with four friends to begin his junior year. His parents, who described him as a "great son" with loving and compassionate qualities, had dropped him off just last week.
The incident occurred early Saturday morning, around 2 a.m., when police received a call about a reported home burglary. Donofrio's lifeless body was discovered on the front porch of the off-campus home by Columbia police officers. The house Donofrio entered was on the same block as his own residence, located less than 2 miles from the main campus of the University of South Carolina. Authorities revealed that they had received a second call reporting gunshots before law enforcement arrived at the scene. The Richland County Coroner's Office confirmed that Donofrio had suffered a fatal gunshot wound to the upper body.
Donofrio, a transfer student from the University of New England, was studying kinesiology and exercise science according to his LinkedIn page. His parents, who chose to remain anonymous, revealed that he had graduated from Daniel Hand High School in Madison, Connecticut, where he excelled in both baseball and basketball. Jimmy Economopoulos, Donofrio's former basketball coach, expressed his devastation upon hearing the tragic news, describing Donofrio as a smart, engaging, and charismatic young man. The loss of such a promising individual has deeply affected the community.
Kate Reynolds, a resident in the neighborhood where the shooting took place, expressed her shock and sorrow over the incident. She emphasized the importance of feeling safe when sending children off to college and the devastating impact that such a traumatic event can have on their college experience. Reynolds also noted that the neighborhood was typically welcoming and friendly, making the incident even more unsettling.
The University of South Carolina began its fall semester just days before the shooting occurred. The university released a statement expressing its condolences and assuring students that resources and support would be provided to those affected by the tragedy. The investigation into Donofrio's death is still ongoing, and authorities have not disclosed any information regarding the identity of the shooter or whether charges have been filed.
This heartbreaking incident serves as a reminder of the unexpected dangers that college students can face, even in seemingly safe environments. The loss of Nicholas Anthony Donofrio has left a void in the lives of his loved ones and the University of South Carolina community.
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