The U.S. Fire Administration released its technical report, “Northern Illinois University Shooting.”
On Feb. 14, 2008, a former Northern Illinois University graduate student walked onto the stage of a large lecture hall and began firing on startled students and faculty. The shooter, a 28-year-old male, had a history of mental illness. He shot and killed five students and wounded 18, some critically. His suicide at the end of the brief attack brought the number of deaths to six.
The DeKalb (Ill.) Fire Department, the NIU Department of Public Safety, the Kishwaukee Community Hospital and other mutual-aid responders had practiced emergency drills together and coordinated their planning. They were familiar with the Incident Command System and had formally incorporated its use in their plans. The fire/EMS, university police, and university events management partners had worked together frequently in planned and unplanned events, so command and control procedures were well practiced. They also had studied official reports on the Virginia Tech shootings and had integrated those lessons learned into the University’s and the DeKalb’s emergency response plans.
The multiagency cooperation in response in Dekalb was virtually a textbook application of Unified Command and the NIMS. The key element contributing to the success of operations was NIU had a very well-defined plan that was exercised routinely. University and local first response leadership made a commitment to prepare and train for such an event following the 2007 Virgina Tech shooting.
For additional information regarding this report, visit the Publications section of the www.usfa.dhs.gov.Web site at