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Gunman Opens Fire at University, Killing Five Then Self

A gunman shot 21 people at North Illinois University on Thursday, killing five before turning his guns on himself. Chicago NewsHour correspondent Elizabeth Brackett reports on the aftermath of yesterday's events.

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  • JIM LEHRER:

    The campus shootings. NewsHour correspondent Elizabeth Brackett of WTTW-Chicago reports from Northern Illinois University at DeKalb.

  • ELIZABETH BRACKETT, NewsHour Correspondent:

    Memorials and vigils took the place of classes and lectures today on the campus of Northern Illinois University, the morning after five students were killed by a gunman who then turned the weapon on himself.

    At a news conference, University President John Peters said that NIU was prepared for a day it had hoped would never come.

  • JOHN PETERS, President, Northern Illinois University:

    We had a plan in place for this sort of thing. Our university police had practiced that plan. They showed that yesterday in the speed and the professionalism of that response.

    We were dealing with a disturbed individual who intended to do harm on this campus. We did everything we could to ensure the safety of this university, and we are going to continue in that vein.

  • ELIZABETH BRACKETT:

    The chair of the board of trustees, Cherilyn Murer, said NIU's disaster plan was implemented with the still-fresh memory of last year's Virginia Tech killings.

    CHERILYN MURER, Chair, Board of Trustees: The president, his vice presidents, the staff, the faculty, our incredible students, their supportive parents did everything, everything possible to avoid future tragedies as we had seen at Virginia Tech.

    I can assure you that the plan was not something put on a shelf, but truly a plan that had been put into action.

  • ELIZABETH BRACKETT:

    Raquel Vega was in the classroom yesterday when the shooting began.

  • RAQUEL VEGA, Eyewitness:

    It seems like you would never thought you would experience. And I don't — God, God be with everyone and their families who lost their loved ones.

    It's just — I mean, I'm like this. I can't even imagine the way — how people are who actually lost someone. And I just — like, the gunshots, oh, it's like it won't go away. It won't go away.

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