Gunman Planned Campus Shooting for at Least a Week

The shooter, off his meds, walked into class with a shotgun in a guitar case.

ByABC News via logo
February 14, 2008, 5:11 PM

Feb. 15, 2008 — -- The gunman who fatally shot five students before killing himself in a Northern Illinois University lecture hall, likely planned his murder spree at least a week in advance, investigators said today.

The graduate student bought two of his four guns at a Champaign, Ill., gun store Saturday indicating that he had been planning his assault for at least six days, ABC News' Richard Esposito and Pierre Thomas report. The other weapons were purchased from the same store in December and August 2007.

The gunman, Steven Kazmierczak, 27, a one-time undergraduate and award-winning sociology graduate student at NIU, was "revered by faculty and staff," and gave "no indication that this was the type of person who would engage in this activity," said campus Police Chief Donald Grady.

Kazmierczak had recently stopped taking medication and "had become somewhat erratic," Grady told reporters.

The fifth student died this morning from gunshot wounds suffered when Kazmierczak opened fire Thursday afternoon at NIU in DeKalb, Ill.

The shooter fired 54 rounds from the weapons, killing six, including himself, and wounding 16.

Kazmierczak, dressed in black, was armed with three handguns and a shotgun, as students took cover beneath desks and ran out of the lecture hall. He was later found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, police said.

Carrying the shotgun concealed in a guitar case, and the handguns under his coat, he entered the hall through a door near the front of the room's stage.

No note has been found and no motive is yet known, Grady said.

"We have no motive, and I have no way of knowing what the motive was," he said.

In all, there were 23 casualties in the shooting, including the gunman. Several of the victims were taken to hospitals, where three died. The others, including the shooter, died at the scene of the gunfire.

Police said he reloaded the shotgun in a shooting that lasted less than five minutes, before he took his own life. Police arrived on the scene within two minutes of the first reports, but it was too late to stop the gunman.