NIU remembers victims one year after shooting spree killed five students


Saturday marks one year since a deadly shooting spree on the campus of Northern Illinois University that killed five students and left 19 people hurt.

As the university honored the victims, leaders unveiled plans for a memorial. It will stand near Cole Hall, where the students died. The university says the site will include five granite slabs. They will each be 10-feet wide and more than 4-feet tall and engraved with the name of a student killed. The markers will be surrounded by 20 dawn redwood, white oak and evergreen trees. Private contributions totaling $120,000 are funding the project.

To honor the victims, Governor Pat Quinn joined family and university administrators to lay wreaths at the site of the planned memorial. They gathered around five markers engraved with the names of each student killed, along with the words, "Forward Together."

Quinn, NIU President John Peters and relatives of the slain students approached slowly in a procession as the campus bells tolled. Two by two, relatives and administrators approached the markers and hung a wreath by each one. They bowed their heads, wiped tears and embraced as the belltower kept tolling. Hundreds of onlookers then walked past the memorial.

On February 14, 2008, Steven Kazmierczak, a 27-year-old former NIU student, stepped from behind a screen on a lecture hall stage, carrying four guns. He fired dozens of shots into a geology class, killing five and wounding 19 others before turning a gun on himself.

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