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|Today Marks One-Year Anniversary of Deadly NIU Shooting -- GALESBURG NIU STUDENTS E-MAIL WGIL HERE
|Today marks the one-year anniversary of the shootings at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb.
The mood on campus was a somber one just a day ago as students hustled to class. Freshman on campus who weren't around when the St. Valentine's Day massacre happened, expressed sorrow for the five students killed when 27-year-old Steven Kazmierczak opened fire with a shotgun and pistols before taking his own life.
NIU president John Peters says the students, staff and faculty didn't talk much about the shooting at the beginning of the school year, but says as the one-year anniversary grew closer, "all of the emotions" came back.
Peters says while security at the university has been beefed up, with plain-clothes officers now roaming the small-town campus, there is still more that can be done to prepare for emergencies and disasters. But he says even with all the training and planning, events such as the Feb. 14 shooting can't be outright planned for.
Plans for a memorial garden are being unveiled on campus today. When constructed in the summer, it will offer students a quiet place to reflect with a view of Cole Hall in the distance. Faculty, staff and students also will participate in a small ceremony today to remember the five slain students.
As for Cole Hall, Peters says the university will renovate it. Plans call for a high-tech learning lab. The specific lecture hall where the shootings took place will be renovated but will not be used for instructional purposes. Peters says some funding for the project would come from a state infrastructure and construction plan.
Peters adds that he is still grateful to the first responders who acted quickly moments after Kasmierczak burst into the geology class through a back entrance and opened fire.
In the days that followed the shootings, police learned that Kazmierczak had stopped taking his prescription medication. The entire story is still incomplete, as NIU Police Chief Donald Grady hasn't yet released his police report. He says he intends to, but that it could still take months or even years.
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|02 13 09 by Newsroom
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