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NIU Press Conference

By Margaret Lyons in News on Feb 15, 2008 3:42PM

2008_2_15.niu.jpg9:37 Dr. Peters, president of NIU, is thanking everyone for their response to the tragedy. He says he was "renew[ed]" by seeing the university community come together.

"We were dealing with a disturbed individual" who was determined to do harm, he says. "We did everything we could." Peters has been visiting wounded students and their families.

Counselors from NIU are also getting help from counselors from other schools in the region.

"The NIU family is going to begin the healing process." "We will get through this together as a community." There are vigils throughout the day today and tonight, and the school is already talking about ways to memorialize the dead students. "First, we really have to deal with this healing process." "To our community, to our NIU community, to the parents, the victims, the students here, the faculty, the staff: We will get through this together."

9:43Cherilyn G. Murer, board chair, calls this a "national tragedy." Everyone did "everything possible" to "avoid future tragedies," she says. "We had that resolve, to be responsive--we just didn't want to have" to use it.

9:49 Police chief Donald Grady: "Nothing of this magnitude gets addressed by a single agency," he says. He commends the law enforcement collaboration for putting together one of the "most impressive responses" to anything he's ever seen. Police were on the scene in a matter of minutes.

Police found 48 casings and 6 shotgun shells.

The shooter was from Champaign. There was no note, and there are no indications yet that he knew anyone in the classroom. Grady says there were "no red flags"--he was an exemplary student.

"Apparently he had been taking medication, but he stopped taking that medication and became somewhat erratic in the last few weeks." Grady won't say what kind of meds, though.

9:56 Kevin Cronin from ATF: Last night, they completed traces on 2 of the 4 guns recovered. They were purchased Feb 9, legally, with a FOID card. ATF is still tracing the other 2 weapons. Recovered: Remington 12-gauge, Glock 9-mm, a Hi-Point 380 pistol, and another handgun whose name I couldn't catch.

10:00 Grady says the shooter carried the shotgun in a guitar case, and had the handguns concealed in his clothes. He says this is in no way related to the racist graffiti from a few months ago.

10:01 The university has IDed the shooter as Steven P. Kazmierczak--and a reporter says three other students at NIU have that last name.

10:06 That's it for now.