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Published on Feb 16, 2008
"Darkness," By: Twiztid
Elk Grove man identified as gunman in NIU killings
By Joseph Ryan | Daily Herald Staff Contact
writerPublished: 2/15/2008 9:03 AM | Updated: 2/15/2008 9:32
Authorities today identified the gunman who killed 6 and wounded 15 at Northern Illinois University as Steven P. Kazmierczak, 27, formerly of Elk Grove Village, the Associated Press reported.
He was apparently a bright student with a clear interest in social justice and criminal law before he turned the gun on himself Thursday afternoon.
He was most recently registered as a graduate student pursuing a masters degree in sociology at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana. He apparently had transferred there after being enrolled for the same courses at NIU from at least 2006 up until the spring of 2007.
Just before he left NIU, Kazmierczak's 58-year-old mother died in the fall of 2006 after suffering from ALS, or Lou Gehrig's Disease, a degenerative disease, according to obituaries from the time and ALS memorial Web sites.
But before leaving NIU, Kazmierczak was active in the sociology department. He co- author a published study on prison policy, entitled "Self-injury in Correctional Settings: 'Pathology' of Prisoners or of Prisons?"
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NIU press conference (Microsoft Explorer only) According to that paper, Kazmierczak had study interests in "corrections, political violence, and peace and social justice." At the time he was also said to be writing a paper about the role of religion in the early formation of U.S. prisons.
He also served as vice president of NIU's Academic Criminal Justice Association and was on the board of a college chapter of the American Corrections Association, which studied jailing policy and the justice system, according to related Web sites.
In 2006, the NIU sociology department gave Kazmierczak one of its highest honors, the Annual Dean's Award.
Kazmierczak graduated from Elk Grove High School in 1998. The high school yearbook lists him as enrolling in a special public service class and playing in the school band. He also made honor roll.
"You are just kind of surprised that you could every know someone involved in something like this," said Kathleen Klages of Harvard, who is a distant relative of Kazmierczak.