Survivor of Northern Illinois University mass shooting reflects on 13th anniversary


DEKALB, Ill. (WGN-TV) — Sunday marks 13 years since the deadly mass shooting at Northern Illinois University.

Five students were killed — Gayle Dubowski, Catalina Garcia, Julianna Gehant, Ryanne Mace and Daniel Parmenter — after a gunman took a shotgun and three pistols into the university’s Cole Hall auditorium on Feb. 14, 2008, shot 22 people in all and turned the gun on himself.

NewsNation affiliate WGN-TV spoke to one survivor who says its hard to believe 13 years has passed.

“Feels like yesterday,” said Patrick Korellis. “Minute-by-minute, everything that happened but I always look forward to see what I have accomplished today and where I’m at today. I’m very happy.”

Korellis was sitting at the front of the Lecture Hall, 15 minutes before class was set to end.

That’s when the shooter kicked open the door.

“He didn’t say any words,” Korellis said. “He was wearing a long trench coat and he just pulled out a long shotgun and started shooting at us. I didn’t realize it was real until the third or fourth shot. I got under my desk and hid and he just kept shooting.”

Korellis suffered wounds to the back of his head and arm. Now 35, the Lake View resident and Walgreens company analyst has reached out to victims of other mass shootings, including Parkland, Florida, which also occurred on Valentine’s Day. He also continues lobbying for gun law reforms at the state and federal levels.

“Gunman was mentally ill, was able to easily access guns online from the same online dealer that the Virginia Tech shooter did,” he said. “I just want to close some of those loopholes.

“I just hope for a change.”

On campus Sunday, bells tolled in memory of the victims.

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