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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 15, 2008

Governor Blagojevich visits NIU campus to meet with University officials, state and local responders
Governor commends NIU community for support and immediate emergency response; pledges to provide continued state resources

DEKALB – In the wake of yesterday’s tragic shooting at Northern Illinois University (NIU), Governor Rod R. Blagojevich traveled today to NIU’s campus to meet with University officials, as well as state and local authorities who responded to the scene of the tragedy.  While meeting with NIU officials and emergency responders, the Governor expressed his gratitude for their hard work and quick response time in reacting to the scene.  The Governor told NIU officials that the state is committed to providing the campus and community with any additional and continued support that is needed to repair the community.
 
“Yesterday's shooting was a tragic, senseless and horrific event.  At an institution devoted to learning, we've seen a terrible act of unthinkable evil.  We will work with the University to help the community return to its core mission of education.  If there was a way for this tragedy to be anticipated and stopped beforehand, we will find it.  And we will work with the larger education community to keep them up-to-date as they review their own safety rules,” said Governor Blagojevich.  “Thanks to 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.  Our prayers are with the families of those who lost a loved one and for the recovery of those who were injured in this senseless tragedy.”
 
The Governor pledged to work closely with NIU to try to determine if this incident could have been anticipated and ultimately prevented.  The Illinois State Police will continue to work with local police and FBI to investigate the shooting and will work to understand the motive of the assailant and details of the crime.  The Governor told officials that the state will work with the entire education community from Pre-K to colleges and universities throughout the state to implement any lessons that can be learned from this tragedy and help them update their existing safety rules.
 
The Governor declared a state of emergency yesterday afternoon in the aftermath of the shootings at Northern Illinois University.  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.


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