Man who fatally shot South Carolina college student entering wrong home was justified, police say

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The resident who fatally shot a University of South Carolina student who tried to enter the wrong home on his off-campus street last weekend was justified in his actions, police said Wednesday.

Nicholas Anthony Donofrio, 20, died early Saturday after knocking, banging, and kicking on the front door of the man who shot him when he broke the glass window and tried to manipulate the doorknob, the Columbia Police Department said.

A police news release added that the investigation determined the shooter — who legally owned the firearm — was covered by South Carolina's so-called “Stand Your Ground” law and no charges will be filed. The statute allows people to protect themselves with deadly force against intruders “unlawfully and forcefully entering" their dwelling.

A call for a reported home invasion shortly before 2 a.m. got upgraded to a call of shots fired as police responded to the scene Saturday, according to the news release. Officers found Donofrio dead when they arrived at the porch.

The student's funeral is scheduled Saturday in Connecticut. The sports enthusiast was pursuing a degree in exercise science and played collegiate basketball at University of New England before transferring, according to an online obituary. A member of Phi Kappa Sigma fraternity, Donofrio is also remembered for giving the “best hugs” and as a regular at Chipotle.

In a statement sent Monday to several news outlets, his parents said they were “very proud of Nick," who was “the son that every parent would wish for.”

“Nick was funny, smart, compassionate, and loved life,” Louis and Dina Donofrio said in the statement. “We will miss him immeasurably.”

Columbia Police Chief Skip Holbrook extended his condolences over the death in the Wednesday release. He emphasized that the lead investigator worked “diligently” to gather the facts in this “heartbreaking case” and had maintained contact with the Donofrio family. The statement did not identify the shooter.