NIU marks 15th anniversary of Valentine's Day mass shooting under shadow of MSU

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Tuesday, February 14, 2023
NIU marks 15th anniversary of mass shooting under the shadow of another
The NIU community marked the somber 15th anniversary of their deadly mass shooting while under the shadow of the lives lost at Michigan State University last night.

DEKALB, Ill. (WLS) -- The 15th anniversary of the Valentine's Day mass shooting at Northern Illinois University was observed in DeKalb Tuesday, under the shadow of Monday night's tragedy at Michigan State University.

Five people were killed when a man opened fire at NIU on February 14, 2008.

At 3:06 p.m., five bells tolled to mark the perhaps the most tragic event in NIU's history, when a gunman burst into Cole Hall and opened fire, killing five students and injuring many more.

Patrick Korellis was among those injured in the attack. He still has shotgun pellets in the back of his head.

"I got under my desk. I waited and hid. Someone shouted he's reloading. And when that happened I tried to crawl and run toward the door. I felt something hit me in the back of the head," he recalled.

Korellis attended the memorial and left flowers for his classmates. The memorial carries the names of the five students killed, and some in the community go there every year on this date.

"I just think it's important we don't forget. That we keep these five students in our memories and their families in our hearts too," said Nancy Goble.

Kevin Stromberg was in the classroom when the gunfire erupted. He now counsels others who are dealing with trauma.

"I don't think it ever, ever goes away but it becomes more manageable. But it sticks with me," he said.

University officials issued a statement offering their thoughts to the victims of the latest school shooting at MSU, saying in part, "We understand too well the fear, uncertainty and profound sadness they face. The entire Spartan community is in our thoughts."

NIU Police Chief Darren Mitchell, who was there in 2008, said a lot has changed, though the school shootings continue.

"The university is much better prepared to communicate with students and the advent of social media," he said.