At approximately 3 p.m. Thursday, February 14, 2008, a gunman, carrying one shotgun and two handguns, opened fire in a geology class at Cole Hall on the campus of Northern Illinois University in DeKalb.
NIU Police officers were on the scene in less than two minutes and the gunman was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound a short time later. Police have not released the identity of the gunman. At this time, there is no known motive. Campus Police Chief Donald Grady also confirmed that the gunman was not a student at Northern Illinois University.
Eighteen students were transported to Kishwaukee Community Hospital in DeKalb.
At 3:03 p.m., NIU police responded, and four minutes later, the campus was ordered into “a lockdown situation,” he said.
At 3:20, an all-campus alert went out via the campus Web site, e-mail, voice mail, the campus crisis hotline, the news media and various alarm systems, he said.
“The message basically was: There’s a gunman on campus, stay where you are, make yourself as safe as possible,” he said.
By 4 p.m., police had swept the area “and determined there was only one gunman” and that he was dead.
Student Edward Robinson told WLS that the gunman appeared to target students in one part of the lecture hall.
“It was almost like he knew who he wanted to shoot,” Robinson said. “He knew who and where he wanted to be firing at.”
Agents with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were assisting local authorities at the scene, spokesman Thomas Ahern told the Chicago Tribune.
“We will be urgently tracing the firearms and learning the history of the weapons,” Ahern said.
The school was closed for one day during final exam week in December after campus police found threats, including racial slurs and references to shootings earlier in the year at Virginia Tech, scrawled on a bathroom wall in a dormitory. Police determined after an investigation that there was no imminent threat and the campus was reopened.
The shooting was the fourth at a U.S. school within a week.
* Classes at all NIU campuses are canceled for tonight (2/14/08) and tomorrow (2/15/08)
* Prayer vigils are scheduled at the following locations on Thursday, 2/14/08:
* Cathedral of Praise, 6 to 9 pm.
1126 South First St., DeKalb
* Harvest Bible Chapel, 8 to 10 p.m.
2215 Bethany Road, DeKalb
* Lutheran Campus Ministry, 10 p.m.
401 Normal Road, DeKalb
NIU University Hotlines
Hotlines have been established for NIU students and their parents: