Walking up and down the aisles, the gunman discharged two handguns. Meanwhile, certain individuals remained paralyzed, incapable of grasping the unfolding events. A few students fled, while others opted to hide under their seats and make their way to an exit located at the rear. Unexpectedly, an individual forcefully entered the stage through a back door, brandishing a shotgun. Initially, the lecturer became the target of the first shot, followed by the audience.
The assailant committed suicide on stage, just under five minutes after initiating the assault. Five students lost their lives, and an additional 18 sustained injuries, with eight of them being in critical condition. He discharged a total of 50 bullets.
Many lives were saved as the hospital later acknowledged, as the injured students were transported and received care with great speed. Emergency responders were on the scene of the snow-covered campus, pouring onto the campus from throughout the region. Most students stumbled outside without coats and some even without shoes, in the bright light of the snow-covered campus.
Until the victim’s family arrived at the hospital and during the ambulance journey, Mayerbock remained by their side, despite being complete strangers. In addition to Mayerbock, a Huskie offensive lineman, who bravely carried an injured student to safety, other tales of heroism came to light.
The campus leadership is already overwhelmed by the burden of added media attention. Within minutes, many learned of the sound of hate from hovering helicopters and news onslaught.
President Peters announced that a mass shooting had occurred, resulting in deaths, while a startled Media gathered at the Altgeld Auditorium. NIU officials organized multiple press briefings within an hour and a half of the initial gunshot. The university promptly disseminated broadcast emails, voicemails, and notifications on the NIU website through the Office of Public Affairs within 15 minutes of the first 911 call.
At Kishwaukee Hospital in DeKalb, emergency crews were tending to an unprecedented number of gunshot victims, as dozens upon dozens of family members rushed in to manage the overwhelming amount of information with little to no use of cell phones, after the shooting shut down service and overwhelmed cell towers in the evening.
The disorder that prevailed on February 14 quickly transitioned into numerous days, weeks, and months of recuperation.
Barack Obama, including his role as a junior senator, attended the entire congressional delegation and watched remote broadcasts of Illinois’ governor. More than 10,000 people attended the memorial service in person, with thousands more watching remotely. The Convocation Center held a memorial service on Sunday, before classes resumed. All classes for the following week and the remainder of that week were cancelled.
A request for 50 volunteer counselors to assist distressed students upon the resumption of classes the next day was responded to by over 300 mental health professionals from various parts of the country.
The workplace, which provided assistance, practical aid, and solace, functioned for a duration of five years. The establishment of the Office of Support and Advocacy, which collaborates with victims and their families, stemmed from their expertise and guidance. The colleagues from Virginia Tech, who traveled to provide aid during the initial stages of the emergency, maintained communication in the subsequent weeks and months.
And we accomplished it. President Peters encouraged us to prioritize kindness and compassion in all aspects. With a university filled with shell-shocked, mourning students, faculty, and staff, it became necessary to temporarily close and subsequently reopen the institution, as this is a significant issue. Decisions had to be made frequently throughout the day.
And then there was the issue of Cole Hall.
In 2012, the site of the calamity remained shut for numerous years, eventually renovated with funds from the state and reopened in a fresh form. Conversely, Peters paid attention when a university poll indicated an alternative perspective: that the demolition of Cole Hall would signify the triumph of the shooter. Peters rationalized that no student should be compelled to enter that place again, and it would serve as a somber commemoration of NIU’s most dreadful period. In the initial stages of sorrow and rage, Peters made a solemn promise to dismantle it.
More than a million dollars in unsolicited donations were poured into the NIU Foundation, which helped create a scholarship program for five strong-charactered students each year. These donations also contributed to the creation of an uplifting sculpture and a beautiful Memorial Garden outside Cole Hall, with granite markers.
From left to right:Output: Moving from the left to the right:
Catalina Garcia, 20, sophomore Elementary Education major
Daniel Parmenter, 20, sophomore Finance major
Gayle Dubowski, 20, sophomore Anthropology major
Julianna Gehant, 32, junior Elementary Education major
Ryanne Mace, 19, sophomore Psychology major
Moving ahead, Unitedly Moving became an emblem of power in togetherness, and it emerged from those demonstrations of backing that a specific phrase originated. Words of optimism and encouragement spread across the community on illuminated marquees. Life-sized Huskie sculptures, a considerable number of which still exist, were bought, adorned, and exhibited by local businesses and individuals.