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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 15, 2008

Governor Blagojevich directs flags to be flown at half staff to honor victims of NIU tragedy
Governor to visit NIU campus to meet with University officials, state and local responders

DEKALB – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today ordered all state facilities to lower the U.S. and Illinois state flags to half staff in memory of the victims of yesterday’s tragic shooting at Northern Illinois University (NIU).  In wake of the tragedy, the Governor will travel to NIU’s campus today to meet with University officials and emergency responders. 
 
“Today is a difficult day for us in Illinois.  All of the victims are in my thoughts and prayers, and my heart goes out to the entire NIU community, the students, the faculty, the administration and their families,” said Governor Blagojevich.  “It is unimaginable that something like this could happen again in one of our universities, especially right here in Illinois.  I want to thank everyone who has opened their hearts and reached out to lend a hand, and I especially want to commend all the emergency personnel who are working hard to help the NIU community.  We will continue to help university officials and state and local emergency responders in any way we can.”
 
The Governor declared a state of emergency yesterday afternoon in the aftermath of the shootings at Northern Illinois University (NIU).  The declaration opens the Governor’s disaster relief fund for local units of government to reimburse them for their extraordinary expenses related to the response in NIU DeKalb, and will facilitate the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) in providing assistance to local units of government in responding to and recovering from this event.  Gov. Blagojevich also activated the State Emergency Operation Center (SEOC) to coordinate the State's response and to provide on-site assistance at NIU.
 
Additional information and updates are available on the ready.illinois.gov website.
 
The Governor’s proclamation follows:
 
WHEREAS,           yesterday afternoon, a gunman opened fire on the campus of Northern Illinois University (NIU) in DeKalb.  More than 20 people were wounded, and multiple fatalities have been reported; and
 
WHEREAS,           this senseless act of violence comes less than a year after the deadliest campus shooting in U.S. history.  Despite efforts made to prevent another tragedy like the one that occurred at Virginia Tech, it happened again right here in Illinois; and
 
WHEREAS,           all the victims are in my thoughts and prayers, and my heart goes out to the entire NIU community, the students, the faculty, the administration and their families; and
 
WHEREAS,           in the immediate aftermath of yesterday’s shooting, I activated the State Emergency Operation Center to coordinate the State’s assistance in responding.  I also declared a state of emergency, which opens the disaster relief fund for local units of government and facilitates the Illinois Emergency Management Agency in providing assistance; and
 
WHEREAS,           the administration of NIU has cancelled all classes and events and closed all campuses until further notice.  Students can go to any residence hall for counseling.  They have also established the following hotlines for students and parents: (815) 753-1573; (815) 753-1574; (815) 753-1575; (815) 753-6143; (815) 753-6257; and (815) 753-9564; and
 
WHEREAS,           I want to thank everyone who has opened their hearts and reached out to lend a hand, and I especially want to commend all the emergency personnel who are working hard under extremely difficult circumstances to help the NIU community; and
 
WHEREAS,           in the days ahead, there will be many memorials and services to mark this terrible and tragic event:
 
THEREFORE, I, Rod R. Blagojevich, Governor of the State of Illinois, do hereby proclaim a period of mourning for the NIU victims in Illinois, and order all state facilities to fly flags at half-staff until February 23, 2008.


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