A former graduate student armed with two handguns and a shotgun opened fire Thursday in a large lecture hall on the campus of Northern Illinois University, killing five students and wounding 16 others before killing himself, authorities said.
University President John G. Peters said six students — four women, the shooter and another man — were killed in what he described as a “very brief, rapid-fire assault.” Sixteen other students were injured by gunfire or flying glass, authorities said.
All of the victims were students, including the shooter and the instructor, a graduate teaching assistant, who survived, Peters said. At least two of the wounded were hospitalized in critical condition.
There is a lot more to be learned here, but we don't have the details. Was there a specific target? Why this class in this room?
This event again raises the question of gun-free zones and their danger to students -- but now is not the time to discuss it at length. Instead, it is time to pray for those killed and wounded, and for all their loved ones.
For me this strikes close to home. Having grown up in Illinois, I visited the NIU campus a number of times and had many friends who went to school there. I interviewed at schools in the area some years ago, and could have been teaching just down the road from the campus had I gotten one of the jobs -- and former students could have been among those in the classroom if that had been the case. It does give one pause.