Sunday, February 17, 2008

Uh-Oh, "stable" NIU Shooter's-Wasn't Stable After All...


WONDER LAKE, Illinois (CNN) -- The girlfriend of the gunman who killed five people and then himself at Northern Illinois University last Thursday told CNN there was "no indication he was planning something."


Baty said Kazmierczak called her at midnight the night before the slayings and said, "Goodbye, Jessica."

"He wasn't erratic. He wasn't delusional. He was Steve; he was normal," Jessica Baty tearfully said in an exclusive interview Sunday.

Baty, 28, said she dated Steven Kazmierczak off and on for two years and had most recently been living with him.

"He was a worrier," she said. He once told her he had "obsessive-compulsive tendencies" and that his parents committed him as a teen to a group home because he was "unruly" and used to cut himself, she said.

"The way he explained it to me, he had some obsessive-compulsive tendencies," she said. "He was worried about everything, he worried about me."

He had been seeing a psychiatrist on a monthly basis, Baty said, and was taking an anti-depressant. But Kazmierczak had stopped taking the medication three weeks ago, "because it made him feel like a zombie," she said.

"He wasn't acting erratic," she said. "He was just a little quicker to get annoyed."

She knew he had purchased at least two guns. He told her they were for home protection.

On Valentine's Day, Baty was in class at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign where she and Kazmierczak were graduate students studying criminal justice. The students began to talk about a mass shooting taking place at Baty and Kazmierczak's alma mater, NIU in DeKalb, Illinois.

She didn't think much of it, and her mind drifted to where her boyfriend told her he would be that day -- with his godfather in another town in Illinois.

Police say Kazmierczak burst into an NIU geology class and opened fire with at least a shotgun and two handguns, killing five students while hundreds fled for their lives. Authorities were on the scene within a few minutes but by the time they reached the classroom, Kazmierczak, 27, had shot himself to death.

"The person I knew was not the one who went into Cole Hall and did that," said Baty. "He was anything but a monster. He was probably the ... nicest, [most]caring person ever."

She said she was talking to the news media about her boyfriend because, "He cannot be defined by his last actions. There was so much more than that."

Either the day of the shooting or the day after, Baty received a package in the mail from Kazmierczak. It was a two textbooks with what she described as a "goodbye" note, and a new cell phone.

She said she had never known her boyfriend to lie: "He was always open and honest; we didn't keep anything from each other."

And the social-work student said she had no indication that anything was amiss.

"I would have helped him, I would have done something for him," Baty said. Even last week, when the two talked every night until the killings, she was not alarmed.

Kazmierczak "told me that he loved me and that he would see me on Thursday and missed me," she said. "That whole week I talked to him; he sounded fine."

It was during their last conversation, a few minutes past midnight Wednesday, that she got her first inkling that something was amiss, she said. "He told me not to forget about him and he told me that he would see me tomorrow, and when we got off the phone he said 'Good-bye.' He never said good-bye."

She has no idea why he sent her a new phone, but read the contents of the note to CNN.

"You are the best Jessica!" it read. "You've done so much for me, and I truly do love you. You will make an excellent psychologist or social worker someday! Don't forget about me! Love, Steven Kazmierczak." Video Watch Baty read the letter Kazmierczak sent to her »

He sent her another package with a gun holster and ammunition in it, Baty said. She said she has no clue why he would have done that.

Shaking and crying, her family at her side during the interview, Baty said she still loves the man she met in a hallway at NIU when they were both undergraduate students.

Like comments from teachers which have been widely reported, she said Kazmierczak was an achiever who always tried to get ahead in class and seemed committed to criminal justice issues. He planned to go to law school and she hoped to get her Phd.

"He never missed a class," she said. "He was always ahead."

Pictures of their relationship don't betray anything odd. They are scenes of the two of them smiling on Florida beaches, on golf courses and having fun at Disney World.

Police confiscated several items. Among them was a copy of Friedrich Nietzsche's "The Antichrist" which Kazmierczak sent to Baty after the shooting. The police also took Kazmierczak's copy of the "Encyclopedia of Serial Killers."

Teachers and others who knew Kazmierczak have said he was fascinated with prison culture. In 2006, when he was a student at NIU, police said, he worked on a graduate paper that described his interest in "corrections, political violence and peace and social justice."

The paper said Kazmierczak was "co-authoring a manuscript on the role of religion in the formation of early prisons in the United States."

"I didn't think he was crazy," said Baty, sobbing. "I still love him."


DEKALB, Ill. - Steven Kazmierczak, at 27, looked like an average schoolboy — except that his arms were covered with disturbing images, including a doll from the horror movie "Saw."

(Steven K, 8th gr grad. pic)

Professors and students knew him as a bright, helpful scholar, but his past included a stint in a mental health center.

Many saw him as happy and stable, but he had developed a recent interest in guns and was involved in a troubled — possibly abusive — on-again, off-again relationship.

What people initially told police about the Northern Illinois shooter didn't add up, and now investigators are searching for answers to what triggered Thursday's bloody attack, in which five students were killed and several more injured before Kazmierczak committed suicide.

While searching for a motive, authorities questioned family and friends and tried to determine whether he had recently broken up with his longtime girlfriend.

One person who knew the couple, who spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity, said the couple's relationship was on-again, off-again and "really rocky." Kazmierczak was controlling, she said.

"He was abusive, had a temper," she said. "He didn't actually hit her; he would push her around."

He also had a history of mental illness and had become erratic in the past two weeks after he stopped taking his medication, said university Police Chief Donald Grady.

A former employee at a Chicago psychiatric treatment center said Kazmierczak had been placed there after high school by his parents. He used to cut himself and had resisted taking his medications, she said.

Kazmierczak spent more than a year at the Thresholds-Mary Hill House in the late 1990s, former house manager Louise Gbadamashi told The Associated Press. His parents placed him there after high school because he had become "unruly" at home, she said.

Gbadamashi couldn't remember any instances of him being violent, she said.

"He never wanted to identify with being mentally ill," she said. "That was part of the problem."

Police went through the belongings he left at a DeKalb motel in search of clues.

Kazmierczak paid cash for his room three days before the shootings, signing his name only as "Steven" on a slip of paper, according to the hotel manager. Items later found in his room included empty cartons of cigarettes and discarded containers of energy drinks and cold medicine. The refrigerator was stocked with more energy drinks.

"It's scary," said Jay Patel, the manager at the Travelodge, where Kazmierczak was last seen before the attack.

Authorities found a duffel bag, with the zippers glued shut, that Kazmierczak had left in the room, said Lt. Gary Spangler of the DeKalb Police Department. A bomb squad safely opened the bag Friday, Spangler said.

He would not comment on what was found in the bag. The Chicago Tribune reported that investigators found ammunition inside, citing law enforcement sources.

Kazmierczak also left behind a laptop computer, which was seized by investigators, Patel told the AP on Saturday.

The discoveries added to the puzzles surrounding Kazmierczak, a graduate student who had once studied at Northern Illinois University but transferred to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

He also had a short-lived stint as a prison guard that ended abruptly when he didn't show up for work. He was in the Army for about six months in 2001-02, but he told a friend he'd gotten a psychological discharge.

Aaron Funsfinn, a friend who knew Kazmierczak at NIU, noted that Kazmierczak had become interested in guns in recent years, but said he wasn't alarmed by his friend's outspoken support for gun ownership.

"He was very rational and reasoned," said Funsfinn, 23.

Others who knew him also were baffled by the attacks, in which Kazmierczak stepped from behind a screen on the lecture hall's stage and opened fire on a geology class.

"Steve was the most gentle, quiet guy in the world. ... He had a passion for helping people," said Jim Thomas, an emeritus professor of sociology and criminology at NIU who taught Kazmierczak, promoted him to a teacher's aide and became his friend.

Kazmierczak's godfather, Richard Grafer, said Saturday that his godson told him he'd broken up with a girlfriend before Christmas. "He wasn't distraught," Grafer said.

"Then he said, 'We'll play chess and we'll talk.' And I said, 'Yeah, I'd love it,'" Grafer said. The conversation took place Tuesday, Grafer said, and Kazmierczak told his godfather he'd call him again Saturday.

"He seemed fine, great. We were laughing and talking and telling jokes."

He said he knew nothing about Kazmierczak being on or off medication.

On Feb. 9, Kazmierczak walked into a Champaign gun store and picked up two guns — a Remington shotgun and a Glock 9mm handgun. He bought the two other handguns at the same shop — a Hi-Point .380 on Dec. 30 and a Sig Sauer on Aug. 6.

All four guns were bought legally from a federally licensed firearms dealer, said Thomas Ahern, a spokesman for the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. At least one criminal background check was performed — Kazmierczak had no criminal record.

Kazmierczak had a state police-issued FOID, a firearms owners identification card, which is required in Illinois to own a gun, authorities said. Such cards are rarely issued to those with recent mental health problems.

NIU President John Peters said Kazmierczak compiled "a very good academic record, no record of trouble" at the 25,000-student campus in DeKalb. He won at least two awards and served as an officer in two student groups dedicated to promoting understanding of the criminal justice system.

Kazmierczak (pronounced kaz-MUR'-chek) grew up in the Chicago suburb of Elk Grove Village. He was a B student at Elk Grove High School, where school district spokeswoman Venetia Miles said he was active in band and took Japanese before graduating in 1998. He was also in the chess club.

On the door of Kazmierczak's Champaign apartment, the building management posted a statement saying he had lived there since June 6, 2007. It called him a "a quiet resident who paid his rent, and did not otherwise come to the attention of the staff and management," at the apartment complex.

Nobody answered the door Saturday morning at the Urbana home of Kazmierczak's sister, Susan. But sobs could be heard through the door of the Urbana home, where a statement was posted:

"Our heartfelt prayers and deepest sympathies are extended to the families, victims, and all other persons involved in the Northern Illinois University tragedy. We are both shocked and saddened. In addition to the loss of innocent lives, Steven was a member of our family. We are grieving his loss as well as the loss of life resulting in his actions." source

Bottom line is-Steven K was an educated crazy man.
I know therapists don't like that term, "crazy," but the according to the dictionary it's defined as:

cra·zy [krey-zee] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation adjective, -zi·er, -zi·est, noun, plural -zies. –adjective
1.mentally deranged; demented; insane.
2. senseless; impractical; totally unsound

Sorry, but that word is def applicable in this instance. He's had issues since a kid. The question do we as a society prevent this?
We can't force people to take their meds and how are we to know who's on meds and who isn't?
It's getting to the point where I'd rather my kids take online college classes than risk getting a cap in their behinds on campus!
Also...we have to be TWICE as cautious for those crazy folks who attend their schools, and then those who don't attend the school-but decide to do target practice there anyway...

How can you prevent someone with nothing to lose-not even the fear of death is enuf-to not take it out on other people???????

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Please know...threats of hell and bible scriptures are futile-look at your church if you don't believe me! Get your 'body of christ' in order and then come talk to me.

Yours in Reason, Bria :)