Shooter Kills 5 at University in Illinois

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The Associated Press reports a former student dressed in black opened fire with a shotgun and two handguns from the stage of a lecture hall at Northern Illinois University on Thursday, killing five students and injuring 16 others before committing suicide.

The gunman fatally shot four women and a man in a "brief, rapid-fire assault" that sent terrified students running for cover, university President John Peters said. Four died at the scene, including the gunman, and the other two died at a hospital, he said. Two victims were in critical condition.

Sister Toldjah writes, "...(blogger)Clayton Cramer is an Idaho resident who rightly believes that students and faculty who have concealed weapon permits should have a right to bring their gun on campus as a form of protection in his own state...Sad, but true. My thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families tonight. "

Martial Arts Diva says, "What a shock. A college not that far from Chicago. They didn't even catch the Tinley Park mass murder and now this."

Investigators did not know what led the gunman, a former NIU graduate student in sociology, to spray bullets at the geology class instructor and dozens of students in the large hall around 3 p.m.

"I kept thinking, 'Oh God, he's going to shoot me. Oh God, I'm dead. I'm dead. I'm dead,'" said Desiree Smith, a senior journalism major who dropped to the floor near the back of the auditorium.

"People were crawling on each other, trampling each other," she said. "As I got near the door, I got up and I started running."- Associated Press

A Deaf Mom Shares Her World writes, "This hits especially close to home because I have many friends and professors from NIU. I graduated from Northern Illinois University in 1987 and 1989. Every year, I return to campus to speak to a class taught by Dr. Ouellette. In December of last year, just a week after I was there, the campus was closed due to a threat found in a washroom."

Beyond Mom writes, "...But now, now there’s this NIU shooting. What the hell is happening in Illinois? Shootings in Colleges and Universities happen in other states, not ours. Is it because, as states go, Illinois is the closest to socialism you’re going to find in the US? Is it because we all think that Obama is the second coming of Jesus? I dont’ think so with my logical brain, of course, because that would be a crazy-person-conspiracy-type leap…but it’s not like strangers are coming from New York to shoot us up…why are we doing this to each other?"

Contributing Editor Erin Kotecki Vest also blogs at Queen of Spain

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