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NIU To Honor The Slain In Massacre, 3 Years Later

NIU Memorial

A memorial at Northern Illinois University after the masscare on Feb. 14, 2008. (Credit: CBS)

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DEKALB, Ill. (WBBM/CBS) – This afternoon at 3 p.m., three years after the Valentine’s Day massacre at Northern Illinois University, some of the survivors will return to campus for a wreath-laying ceremony to honor the five people killed.

As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Steve Miller reports, the shooting happened on the afternoon of Feb. 14, 2008. As a geology class was in progress in a lecture room in Cole Hall, the door to the lecture hall stage burst open.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Steve Miller reports

A guitar case was set on the floor, and out came the gun, and then the shooting.

Patrick Korellis was sitting near the front. He says he hid under his desk.

“Someone in the classroom shouted that he was reloading, and as soon as that happened, I crawled towards the door, and I got up, and he saw all of us at the door, and he shot at us at the door, and that’s when I got hit in the back of the head and in the arm,” Korellis said, “and as I was trying to run out, I was holding my hand by my head, and there was blood coming down my arm, and I didn’t know what was going on. I started to lose consciousness.”

Five people were killed in the incident – Catalina Garcia, 20; Julianna Gehant, 32; Ryanne Mace, 19; Daniel Parmenter, 20; and Gaybe Dubowski, 20. A total of 21 others were injured.

The gunman, Steven Kazmierczak, 27, shot and killed himself before police arrived on the scene.

He had attended NIU previously, but at the time was doing graduate work at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He had purchased the firearms he used in the shooting legally in Champaign.

Following the shooting, then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich proposed that Cole Hall be demolished, but the idea was later rejected. The building is now under renovation.

Korellis says he will be at the wreath-laying ceremony Monday afternoon.