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Title: Oregon Victim Planned Military Career

Source: Associated Press, 5/22/98 

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Oregon Victim Planned Military Career

The Associated Press

By DAVID FOSTER

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. (AP) - On Wednesday, Mike Nickolauson was telling a friend how he'd mapped out his life: a National Guard boot camp for high-schoolers this summer, a military career after graduation next year.

On Thursday, Nickolauson was dead, caught in a hail of bullets police say were fired by 15-year-old classmate Kip Kinkel.

``He was planning a life ahead of him,'' said Chad Bower, a close friend of Nickolauson. ``He certainly thought he was going to live after today.''

Bower and other friends described Nickolauson, 17 years old with sandy brown hair and a medium build, as a laid-back guy who would have done nothing to provoke someone.

He and Bower liked to play a role-playing game, like Dungeons and Dragons, that they made up themselves, and they both hung out with ``nerds and outcasts - the bottom of the pecking order,'' Bower said.

Thursday morning, Mike was sitting at a table in the school cafeteria, talking with friends. He became one of the first students shot as Kinkel sprayed the room with gunfire, shooting wildly from the hip.

``I don't think he knew him at all,'' Bower said. ``He was just sitting there.''

At the Springfield Lutheran Church late Thursday, there were sobs as Pastor Laurie Lofsvold read Nickolauson's name and those of the injured.

``How could it happen in Springfield? I don't know. I can't find it in the Bible,'' Pastor Zane Wilson said. ``Young people really believe they are bulletproof. Today we had frightening evidence they are not.''

Michelle Calhoun, Nickolauson's girlfriend, was sitting at the table just before the shooting. She had gotten up to get something to eat when she heard the first shots.

By Thursday afternoon, her shock was turning to anger, fear and frustration.

``He wasn't just my boyfriend, he was my best friend,'' she said. ``He was a great person. He liked to read and was very smart. He was just really quiet. He was the last person you'd expect this kind of thing to happen to.''

AP-NY-05-22-98 0732EDT

Copyright 1998 The Associated Press. 

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