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Offender identified in NIU shootings


Robin Kaler, associate chancellor for public affairs

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Authorities have identified the offender in Thursday’s shootings at Northern Illinois University as Steven Phillip Kazmierczak of Champaign.

Kazmierczak (pronounced kaz-MEER-check), 27, a native of Elk Grove Village in suburban Chicago, was a graduate student in the School of Social Work on the Urbana campus of the University of Illinois.

Authorities say Kazmierczak opened fire on an NIU geology class Thursday, shooting 21 people before turning the gun on himself. Five people were killed in addition to the offender.

U. of I. police say they have no record of contact with Kazmierczak through their regional law enforcement data base and that they received no information that he was ever a threat to the Urbana campus.

Police say Kazmierczak had an assigned office on campus, but that a check by officers has determined that the School of Social Work is safe and secure.

Richard Herman, the chancellor of the Urbana campus, said the university offers its deepest condolences to family and friends of the victims and the NIU community. He said grief counselors from the Urbana campus are en route to DeKalb to assist NIU’s staff.

“In the days to come it is important for all of us in the Illinois community to come together to express our feelings concerning this horrible tragedy and to share the grief that follows,” Herman said in an e-mail to the Urbana campus. “We can expect to feel a wide range of emotion.”

Updates will be posted on the U. of I. Web site, along with a blog that allows students, friends and other mourners to post messages about the tragedy at NIU.