3 Killed, 5 Wounded in Michigan State Shooting

Police confirmed all victims are students and the gunman killed himself off-campus following an hours-long manhunt.
Published: February 14, 2023

EAST LANSING, Mich. — At least three people were killed and five others were critically injured when a gunman opened fire Monday night at Michigan State University.

MSU interim deputy chief Chris Rozman confirmed Tuesday morning that all deceased and injured victims were students at the school, reports CNN. The deceased victims have been identified as Arielle Anderson, Brian Fraser, and Alexandria Verner.

The five injured victims were brought to E.W. Sparrow Hospital and remain in critical condition. Four of the students required surgical intervention to treat their injuries.

The shooter, identified as 43-year-old Anthony McRae, entered Berkey Hall around 8:18 p.m. and started shooting, killing two people. The man then went to the MSU Student Union as officers were at Berkey and opened fire again, killing one. Rozman confirmed both buildings are open to the general public during business hours and neither has a card access system in place.

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The gunman, who officials say has no connection to the university, then fled the scene on foot. Hundreds of officers from different agencies scoured the campus and surrounding areas for three hours. Law enforcement received a tip from a local resident and found the man dead off campus from a self-inflicted gunshot wound around 11:35 p.m.

“Because of our quick release of the photograph from the campus security cameras and the help from our community, it was a caller’s tip that led law enforcement to that suspect in the city of Lansing,” said Rozman.

Police said a weapon was recovered but no additional details were shared. A search warrant was also executed at the shooter’s residence.

The school sent out an alert around 8:30 p.m. telling students to secure in place immediately. A second alert sent shortly after urged students to “run, hide, fight.”

“Run means evacuate away from danger if you can do so safely, hide means to secure in place, and fight means protect yourself if no other option,” read the alert.

MSU Student Survivor Recalls Shooting

Student Claire Papoulias was attending class inside Berkey Hall when the gunman opened fire behind her.

“The teacher was presenting a lesson and all of sudden I heard gunshots directly behind me,” Papoulias told CNN. “That’s when the shooter opened the back classroom door and started firing at my classmates in the back, wounding them. I smelled and saw the gunpowder.”

Papoulias said everyone dropped to the floor and someone started yelling, “Shooter, everybody get down.” She said the shooter shot three to four times in the classroom before exiting and leaving the door open.

“Someone got up and ran to the door to close it after he left,” Papoulias recalled. “Then we started barricading ourselves in the classroom while other students tried to smash the window open so we could escape.”

Some students helped others climb out the broken window. Papoulias said there was a student outside the window “catching people who were jumping out.” Others helped the wounded, including one student who took off his shirt to try and stop a victim’s bleeding.

The FBI and MSU Department of Police and Public Safety are asking anyone with photos or videos related to the shooting to submit them through an online form.

Michigan Governor: Mass Shootings a ‘Uniquely American Problem’

All classes, athletics and other activities have been canceled as the school has moved to emergency operations for at least two days. MSU Interim President Teresa Woodruff said the time is intended for students, staff and faculty “to think, grieve and be together” after a “day of shock and heartbreak.”

Counseling services and resources were made available for the campus community starting at 9 a.m. Tuesday at the East Lansing Hannah Community Center, according to Detroit Free Press. The city of Lansing will also provide resources, Lansing Mayor Andy Schor said at a news conference. A heavy police presence will also remain in the area over the next few days as crime scenes are processed and interviews are conducted.

During a Tuesday morning news conference, Governor Gretchen Whitmer, an MSU graduate, thanked the first responders and medical workers caring for the victims. She called mass shootings a “uniquely American problem” and noted that Tuesday marks five years since 17 people were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Tuesday also marks 15 years since the 2008 shooting at Northern Illinois University in Dekalb, in which a gunman killed five students and injured 17 others.

“President Biden and I spoke last night he pledged his support and the thoughts of an entire nation when we will work together to do what is necessary to help MSU community heal,” she said. “We’re all broken by an all too familiar feeling. Another place that is supposed to be about community and togetherness shattered by bullets and bloodshed.”

According to Click on Detroit, a student in her first semester at MSU who sheltered in place was also a survivor of the 2021 Oxford High School shooting.

Shooter Has Criminal History

The gunman has a criminal history involving firearms, MLive reports. He had two misdemeanor convictions in 2006 for driving with a suspended license and a misdemeanor conviction for possessing a loaded firearm without a concealed weapons permit in June 2019, according to state police records.

In the June 2019 incident, he was originally charged with a felony but took a plea agreement on a lesser charge and was sentenced to 12 months probation in Nov. 2019. The probation period ended in May 2021.

Neighbor Megan Bender told MLive that police have been called to the gunman’s residence because of the sound of gunshots. Bender said he would fire out of the back door of the home he shared with his father.

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