Magazine reveals new details about NIU shooter By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
CHICAGO - Steven Kazmierczak admired how the gunman at Virginia Tech chained the doors to prevent students from escaping and the plan by two Columbine High School students to create confusion before their mass murder. And when he carried out his own deadly mission in a crowded lecture hall at Northern Illinois University in February, Kazmierczak was silent and emotionless as he fatally shot five students and injured 18 before committing suicide. Those details and observations are included in a lengthy article in the August edition of Esquire magazine that sheds new light on the trouble childhood and personal demons of Kazmierczak, who struggled to cope with mental health problems, his sexual identity and the pressures of college and work. Information for the 12,400-word story came from interviews with Kazmierczak's friends, including former girlfriend Jessica Baty, and a 1,500-page police file that included e-mail records, police reports from incidents when Kazmierczak was in high school, psychiatric evaluations, military records and interviews people gave police, according to Esquire. The magazine would not say how it got the file. NIU Police Lieutenant Todd Henert said he didn't know but was trying to determine which of several law enforcement agencies involved with the investigation might have released the file. Some of the information in the article has been reported, including Kazmierczak's use of medication, his discharge from the Army after a few months and his stint at a psychiatric treatment center as a teenager. But the story also chronicles in great detail previously unreported or little-known incidents in Kazmierczak's life - from suicide attempts as a youth to his various sexual relationships with women and men - as well as accounts of his rampage provided by a teacher and teaching assistant, both of whom were injured. It is clear from the article that Kazmierczak struggled with mental health problems throughout his childhood, then tried to hide them when he was an adult. His military file details his discharge from the Army after officials “discovered he lied on his application, concealed his mental-health history, his suicide attempts, and his psychotic episodes, including hearing voices and hallucinations,” according to the article. Kazmierczak also struggled with his sexual identity, according to Baty and police interviews with his sister. At one point, he confessed to his sister that he thought he might be gay, and according to the story had sexual encounters with males. Yet he also had repeated sexual encounters with women he met on the Internet, Esquire reported. The story includes Kazmierczak's fascination, chilling in retrospect, with Seung-Hui Cho, the Virginia Tech student who shot and killed 32 people before killing himself in April 2007. “He was interested in what was going on in the mind of Cho, and why it was so successful, and how someone could do it, how they could pull it off,”' Vann writes, quoting a friend he identifies only as Kevin. The story also details the NIU shooting spree, much of it from the perspective of Joe Peterson, the classroom instructor, and Brian Karpes, Peterson's teaching assistant. Peterson recounted how Kazmierczak looked “right at me” and fired a handgun. “There was no change of expression, not even excitement,” Peterson is quoted as saying. “It was like if you're repainting a room at home, painting the walls, and you realize you missed a few spots, it was that mechanical.” Karpes told of diving behind a podium, and Kazmierczak firing at him when he peered out from behind it. “He just kept shooting me. I got hit right in the head. It felt like getting hit with a bat. As I fell to the floor face-first, all I could think was, 'I got shot and I'm dead.”'