After a former student busted into a Northern Illinois University lecture hall and opened fire on Valentine's Day of 2008, a young Steven Agee spoke to his parents about transferring away from the DeKalb campus.
"He wanted to transfer, and we, as parents were like, 'You can't run from everything,' so he decided to stay," Agee's mother, Kimberly Agee, recalled Wednesday.
Now, a day before Thanksgiving and just months shy of his own graduation, Agee himself has become the latest student to die from a gunman's bullet.
As a well-respected student leader, Agee would surely have been aware of a number violent acts to affect the campus.
He would have known of Brian Mulder, a student shot outside a residence hall in February 2010. He would have known of Antinette "Toni" Keller, the NIU student who disappeared a little more than a year ago and whose badly burned remains are believed to have been found in the woods near campus. And Agee would have known about the rehabilitation linebacker Devon Butler has been going through since being shot last April.
Whether the violence has been on campus or off, or at the hands of students or non-students, those details don't matter to Kimberly Agee. She just wants it to end.
"There needs to be a plan, and if that plan works, let's implement it and keep moving, and if the plan doesn't work the powers to be need to go back to the table and devise another plan because no parent should have to send their child to college and have to come home to this," she said.
Just hours after Steven Agee died, a 19-year-old Markham man, Chaz Thrailkill, was arrested and charged with first-degree murder, aggravated battery with a firearm and aggravated discharge of a firearm. He was ordered held on $3 million bond.
That, too, doesn't matter his Agee's mother.
"I got word that there's a $3 million bond. They caught the shooter. And there's a bond. I don't care," she said. "I can't even describe the pain because it hasn't set in. I'm still numb."