Author Leaks NIU Gunman's Secret Past

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 14, 2009 7:00 PM CST
This photo shows Steven Kazmierczak, identified as the gunman who killed five people at Northern Illinois University in February.    (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – The student whose killing spree took five lives and injured 18 at Northern Illinois University had a history of mental illness and revered figures like Adolf Hitler and Ted Bundy, CNN reports on the first anniversary of the attacks. Steven Kazmierczak even wore a tattoo depicting Jigsaw, the Saw films' sadistic narrator, and had a history of attempted suicide. NIU police say they never got wind of such warnings.

"How could it be a red flag if it never came to us?" said the university's police chief. But David Vann, who culled the information on Kazmierczak for a book about the shootings, said the writing was on the wall. Kazmierczak had been hospitalized several times for mental illness and was known as "strange Steve" by roommates. "What does a mass murderer have to do to get noticed?" asked Vann. (Read more Steven Kazmierczak stories.)