Press conference clarifies death toll

Tyrel Linkhorn

Five students killed, shooter commits suicide

John Peters, Northern Illinois University president, addressed the media this morning and thanked the community for its outpouring of support following yesterday’s campus shooting that resulted in five student deaths. ABIGAIL S. FISHER | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: DKS Editors

Editor’s Note: The Daily Kent Stater and TV2 sent a group of student journalists to Northern Illinois University to tell the stories of the students who lived through the tragedy. Visit throughout the weekend for continuing coverage.

DEKALB, Ill. – Six are dead, five students and the shooter, as result of yesterday’s attack on at Northern Illinois University lecture hall, not seven as earlier reported, said DeKalb County coroner Dennis Miller in a press conference this morning.

Miller said the incorrect information was a result of a miscommunication between hospitals. An injured individual was transferred to a DuPage County hospital, not deceased as reported.

The five students were identified as Daniel Paramenter, 20, of Wetchester; Catalina Garia, 20, of Cicero; Ryanne Mace, 19, of Carpentersville; Julianna Gehant, 32, of Mendota; and Gayle Dubowski, 20, of Carol Stream.

NIU police chief Donald Grady identified the shooter as Steven P. Kazmierczak, 27, of Champaign. He took his own life before NIU police officers entered the building where the attack took place, Grady said.

Kevin Cronin, supervisory special agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, also addressed the media, clarifying that his agents recovered four weapons from the scene: a Remington 12 ga. shotgun, a Glock 9mm pistol, a Sig Sauer 9mm pistol and a Hi-Point .380 pistol.

It is not yet known whether Kazmierczak fired all four weapons.

Cronin said Kazmierczak picked up the Remington and Glock from a gun dealer in Champaign, and as far as his bureau knows, those two purchases were legal.

They are still tracing the other two weapons.

Grady said while they cannot confirm the number of shots Kazmierczak fired, 48 pistol casings were recovered from the scene, along with six shotgun shells.

Beginning the press conference, NIU President John G. Peters said he wanted to someday individually thank the “hundreds of individuals” who sent him e-mails of support and condolences, his voice broke and he looked downward at the lectern, pausing as he composed himself.

Standing in front of more than a dozen individuals, including law enforcement, DeKalb County officials and university personnel, his message was one of thankfulness, the NIU family and of resolve. He said his focus is now the healing process for the parents, victims, faculty, staff and students.

He said he was “so pleased (over) the last hours as I’ve seen our students and staff come together and deal with this tragedy and help the . victims and their parents and families deal with this and help each other deal with this.”

Grady said their investigation hasn’t yet found any connections between Kazmierczak, who attended NIU in Spring 2007, and the people in the class.

During Kazmierczak’s time at the university, Grady said, there were no red flags.

“He was an outstanding student, he was an awarded student, he was someone that was revered by the faculty and staff and students alike, so we had no problems, and we’ve had no indications at all that this would be the type of person that would engage in such activities.”

A motive remains unknown.

Contact news editor Tyrel Linkhorn at [email protected].