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15 years later, moment of reflection honors 5 NIU students killed in mass shooting

The bell rang five times at 3:06 p.m. Five times to remember the five students killed in a mass shooting at NIU on Valentine’s Day 2008 -- fifteen years ago. Gayle Dubowski, Catalina Garcia, Juliana Gehant, Ryanne Mace, and Daniel Parmenter.

Family and friends stood in the rain to grieve and embrace at the memorial garden where a sculpture and five plaques mark the five students.

17 others were injured that day. Mike Speek was a student in the classroom where the attack happened.

“It’s a feeling I don’t wish upon anyone. It’s torn me apart,” said Speek. “I miss them all the time and I didn’t even know them.”

He said he can’t believe school shootings like he survived still happen, all the time, and even more often. The memorial comes a day after three students were killed at Michigan State University and on the fifth anniversary of the Parklandshooting.

Anthony Devea is a current NIU student who attended the memorial. Devea is a survivor of the Highland Park mass shooting where seven people were killed last July.

“I very vividly remember hearing the gunshots and everybody running," said Devea. "I just wish something would change so that more people don’t have to keep constantly going through this."

Along with the memorial to the victims outside of Cole Hall, the university has also established the Forward, Together Forward Scholarship in their names.

Peter joins WNIJ as a graduate of North Central College. He is a native of Sandwich, Illinois.