COLUMBIA, S.C. (WTNH) — A University of South Carolina student from Madison, Conn., was shot and killed while mistakenly attempting to enter the wrong home early Saturday morning, police said.
Nicholas Anthony Donofrio, 20, was found dead with a gunshot wound to his upper body by the time police responded to reports of a home burglary and shooting, according to Columbia police. Officers found his body on the front porch of a home on South Holly Street around 2 a.m.
Police said Donofrio lived on the same street where he was shot but mistakenly attempted to enter another home. The shooting occurred in Columbia’s Rosewood neighborhood adjacent to the campus.
Police did not say who shot Donofrio or whether any charges were immediately filed.
Lou and Dina Donofrio told News 8 that their son was a Phi Kappa Sigma fraternity member and was studying applied exercise science. They had moved him into an off-campus house last week, where he was excited to live with four friends for his junior year.
The Donofrios declined to comment about the shooting, saying they were heartbroken and in disbelief.
“Nick was the son every parent would wish for,” they told News 8. “He was funny, smart and compassionate, and loved life. We will miss him immeasurably.”
According to his parents, Donforio graduated from Daniel Hand High School in Madison, where he played baseball and basketball. He also played basketball during his first year at the University of New England before transferring to the University of South Carolina. He loved to work out, his parents said.
According to Columbia police, they will continue to consult with the Fifth Circuit Solicitor’s Office regarding the circumstances of the case.
“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: https://sc.edu/about/offices_and_divisions/health_services/mental-health/index.php.” the University of South Carolina said in a statement.
“The night we found out, I hung out with some of our friends,” Donofrio’s friend, Scott Testori told News 8. “Just to be together. That’s what he would have wanted. Something like that, to happen to one of your best friends, is just crazy to think about. He really cared about me, loved me. That’s not just the case for me, it was the case for all of his friends.”
Madison Public Schools released a statement Monday on the death of Donofrio.
The Madison Public Schools community is deeply saddened to learn of the death of recent Daniel Hand High School Class of 2021 graduate Nicholas Donofrio. Nick was an exceptional young man who excelled in the classroom and as an athlete. Our thoughts are with Nick’s family and friends at this time.– Superintendent of Schools Craig A. Cooke, Ph.D., and Daniel Hand High School Principal Anthony R. Salutari, Jr.
Starting Aug. 29, Daniel Hand High School will offer support to students and staff for as long as needed.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.