Six dead in campus shooting at Northern Illinois University

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Northern Illinois University

Six people were killed and 16 others injured in a shooting at the Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois, United States.

Reports indicate that the shooter emerged from a curtain or a screen at the front of an auditorium in Cole Hall armed with a shotgun and two pistols and began shooting.

Authorities have tentatively identified the shooter as Stephen Kazmierczak. NIU officials said the shooter was enrolled at the university as late as the spring semester of 2007, and was now a student at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign.

Many of the victims were taken to local hospitals. Kishwaukee Community Hospital reported a total of 18 patients brought to the hospital. Of the 18, only two were admitted. Eight of the patients were discharged later in the day, while seven were transferred to other regional hospitals for treatment. One victim died at Kishwaukee Hospital, another died after being transferred to St. Anthony's Hospital in Rockford, while the other four fatalities were confirmed at the scene.

News about the shooting emerged at 3:20 p.m. CST, when a special campus notice was posted on the university's website, indicating the presence of a gunman on campus. Twenty minutes later, NIU announced the cancellation of all classes for the remainder of the evening, and ten minutes after that announcement, NIU officials confirmed there had been a shooting and that emergency personnel were handling the situation.

"The ambulance took away two students on the ground right outside my dorm," Dominique Broxton, a student at NIU, told the Chicago Tribune. "I don't know them. They looked bloody. Where I am right now, there are a lot of police, at least a dozen. There are police cars and trucks everywhere." George Gaynor, a student in the lecture hall when the shooting occurred, added that the shooter looked like "a skinny white guy with a stocking cap on."

The DeKalb County coroner has released the names of all those killed in the attack. In addition to the shooter, those killed included Daniel Parmenter, 20; Catalina Garcia, 20; Ryanne Mace, 19; Julianna Gehant, 32, and Gayle Dubowski, 20. All were students at NIU. Chicago news outlets are also reporting names of four of the surviving victims:

  • Joseph Peterson, a graduate assistant and instructor of the course in session at the time of the shooting.
  • Patrick Korellias, a student in the class at the time of the shooting.
  • J.D. Donohue', a student in the class at the time of the shooting.
  • Ah-Num Rahman, a student in the class at the time of the shooting.

Rahman was transferred to Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove with shotgun wounds to both arms and the side of her face. The other three remain at Kishwaukee Community Hospital.

NIU president John Peters released some details about the shooter during a press conference following the shooting. Kazmierczak had been a student at NIU but transferred to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for the current academic year. He was pursuing a graduate degree in sociology, with an emphasis in peace and social justice. Kazmierczak won a Dean's Award for a project in 2006, and was active in the student government while at NIU. Officials at a press conference also indicated that Kazmierczak was taking medication for an unspecified condition, and discontinued use of that medication approximately two weeks prior to the shooting.

The campus of Northern Illinois University is closed until further notice, and officials have announced the cancellation of all athletic events, home and away, through at least Sunday, February 17.


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