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Steven Phillip Kazmierczak (August 26th, 1980 - February 14th, 2008) was an American mass shooter who killed 6 and wounded many others before committing suicide at Northern Illinois University in 2008.
Kazmierczak had an unusually disturbing childhood. He would teach friends how to make homemade bombs and abused animals, sometimes sexually. Later in life, he had a string of sexual partners, both male and female.
He graduated from Elk Grove High School in 1998, during which he was treated temporarily for mental illness at the Elk Grove Village Thresholds-Mary Hill House psychiatric center, for being "unruly" at home, according to his parents Gail and Robert Kazmierczak. He was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder as a teenager. He later went on to study sociology at Northern Illinois University (NIU). Though his family moved to Florida in 2004, Kazmierczak continued his education in Illinois. He enlisted in the United States Army in September 2001, and was discharged before completing basic training in February 2002 for lying on his application about his mental illness. His mother died in Lakeland, Florida in September 2006 from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease or ALS). At the time of Steven's death, his father was living in a retirement community in Lakeland.
At approximately 3:05 p.m. CST, Steven Kazmierczak entered a large auditorium-style lecture hall in Cole Hall (Auditorium 101), where an oceanography class was in session with approximately 120 students present. Kazmierczak was wearing dark brown boots with laces; jeans; a black T-shirt with the word "Terrorist" imposed over an image of an assault rifle; a coat; a black knit hat; and a black utility belt with two magazine holsters, a holster for a handgun, three handguns (a 9×19mm Glock 19, a .380 ACP SIG Sauer P232, and a .380 ACP Hi-Point CF380), eight loaded magazines, and a knife. He also carried in a 12 gauge Remington Sportsman 48 shotgun concealed in a guitar case. He opened the auditorium door with such extreme force that many witnesses described him as "kicking the door in", entering at the extreme southwest corner, near the stage in front of the classroom, and began firing at the students.
He next shot at the instructor, who was standing on the east side of the stage. The instructor tried to run out the exit at the southeast corner, but that door was locked. The instructor then ran out through the main exit at the east end of the classroom, through which the students were trying to leave. Some students who were not able to immediately escape hid under or in between the seats. When Kazmierczak paused to reload after firing three rounds, some students shouted "He's reloading" and began to escape. Others continued to hide or were too shocked to react.
After shooting all six shotgun rounds, Kazmierczak fired on the room's remaining occupants with the 9mm Glock pistol, firing a total of approximately 50 rounds. He was reported to have walked up and down the west aisle and directly in front of or on the stage, firing at people as he went. He shot and killed himself before police reached the room. The police recovered 55 un-expended rounds of ammunition from the scene, including two fully loaded magazines containing rounds for a .380 semi-automatic pistol.
A total of 23 people were shot, six of whom died (including the perpetrator, who shot himself before police arrived). One witness reported that the gunman shot at least 30 rounds; police later collected 48 shell casings and 6 shotgun shells.
At the time of the shootings, Kazmierczak was a graduate student in the school of social work at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He was a former NIU Sociology graduate student. NIU Police Chief Donald Grady described him as "an outstanding student" who reportedly had stopped taking psychiatric medication recently and become "somewhat erratic."
According to a report published by the United States Fire Administration, Kazmierczak is believed to have studied Virginia Tech perpetrator Seung-Hui Cho's actions and used a similar modus operandi.