Three Michigan State University students are dead and five more are injured after an active shooter opened fire inside of Berkey Hall on the north side of campus just after 8:15 p.m. Monday evening.
The shooter opened fire again inside of MSU Union, as police were inside of Berkey Hall, before taking off on foot. Those on campus and in the surrounding area were told to shelter in place following the reports of shots fired.
Reports of multiple shooters and additional shootings at IM East and other locations are reportedly false, according to the MSU Police and Public Safety’s twitter. They were again confirmed as false by police at a press conference on Thursday morning.
Victims of the shooting were taken to Sparrow Hospital. Brian Fraser (20), a sophomore from Grosse Pointe who graduated from Grosse Pointe South High School in 2021, Alexandria Verner (20), a junior from Clawson who graduate from Clawson High School in 2020, and Arielle Anderson (19), a junior from Harper Woods who graduated from Grosse Pointe North High School in 2021, died of their injuries.
Police are not releasing the names of the five individuals who were injured in the shooting, but Sparrow Hospital has announced that one student has been discharged, another is in fair condition, and two students are in serious, but stable condition. One student remains in critical condition.
Instances of off-duty police officers assisting efforts to locate and stop the shooter, and of students helping one another amidst the chaos were also reported on Thursday.
“Our students that were in Berkey Hall, in addition to being placed in situations they have probably never been encountered with before, when their students, their friends, and classmates needed assistance, they rendered aid,” Chief of Police, MSU, Marlon Lynch said during Thursday’s press conference. “The officers that responded in the buildings within minutes, one of the first things they encountered were the victims, and those victims happened to be our students, and they stopped to rendered aid and immediately got emergency medical services on scene so they could be removed and get the treatment they needed.”
The University resumed “standard operation” the Thursday after the shooting, and classes resumed the following Monday.
According to an op-ed in the school’s independent, student-run news source, State News, however, that’s isn’t enough time for students to properly grieve
“We can’t physically sit in a classroom on Monday. It’s been less than a week since we lost three fellow Spartans in those classrooms. We aren’t ready,” the article, which is attributed to The State News Editorial Board, said. “[…] We need more time to process without a class to worry about. MSU must extend the pause they’ve given us so we can decide how we need to proceed to feel safe and secure.”
According to Woodruff, Berkey Hall will remain closed until the end of the semester. A decision on whether or not the student union will reopen has yet to be made. A decision on the future of those buildings has also yet to be made.
A memorial vigil to honor the victims at The Rock on the MSU campus Wednesday evening brought thousands of people together to mourn. Other local vigils at Clawson City Park, Grosse Pointe Memorial Church, and at the University of Michigan were also held Wednesday night.
MSU continues to offer mental health services for students in need of support. They can call 517-316-8200 to access those resources.
MSU Police and Public Safety names 43-year-old Anthony Dwayne McRae as the shooter. Police caught up to McRae at the corner of Lake Lansing and Larch Roads, roughly 3.8 miles from campus, after a tip came in just 17 minutes after his photo was released to the public. Police say that it appears he was heading home.
Officers engaged with McRae, who subsequently shot himself to death in front of them. Michigan State Police will be making the decision to release that body cam footage or not.
MSU Police Interim Deputy Chief Chris Rozman confirmed that McRae — who his father said had no friends and spent most of his time in his bedroom during an interview with police — was found with two 9 mm handguns on his person along with nine loaded magazines, more loose ammunition, and bus tickets. Those handguns were purchased legally, but were not registered. He was also found with a two-page note that included other potential targets including a church, businesses, and two New Jersey schools.
In addition, police collected a cell phone, fired 9mm casings, journals, and notes during a later search of his home.
The note found on his person points to a possible motive, but police are unable to confirm that motive at this time. He had no known affiliation to MSU, and acted alone, according to police.
“It appears, based on the content of the note, that he felt that he was slighted in some way by people or businesses. Did a mental health issue amplify that or was it a component of that? We’re not sure at this point,” Rozman said. “That’s the question on all of our minds, and we’re working our best to try to determine that as best as possible. We’ve committed to sharing accurate information and I don’t have an accurate answer for you right now other than to say we continue to look at that and attempt to determine the actual motive.”
According to Lansing Police Department Chief Ellery Sosebee, McRae was charged with a felony in 2019 for carrying a concealed weapon without a permit, but he pleaded down in that case and received probation. He also had run-ins with police in 2005 for a larceny complaint and a traffic violation, along with two more traffic violations in 2007.
This shooting is the 67th in 2023 so far. It comes just 15 months after the shooting at Oxford High School that left four students dead and seven other people injured, and just one day before the fifth anniversary of the shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, which took the lives of 17 people.
Nicole Hockley, the CEO of Sandy Hook Promise, an organization founded in response to the the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Dec. 14, 2012, and the mother of Dylan, one of the 20 children killed during Sandy Hook, responded to the tragedy, saying:
“On a day when our hearts are already heavy with the remembrance of mass shootings at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and Northern Illinois University, we once again are filled with grief and anger because of another mass shooting on school grounds. Our hearts are with the Michigan State University community, and the families and friends of the victims and with the survivors. Another community forever changed within minutes. But right beside our sympathy is our outrage. We know how to prevent gun violence but our country fails to take the actions necessary to save lives. Our nation, traumatized by year after year of mounting gun deaths, must reject the notion that gun violence is inevitable because we know that the opposite is true; gun violence is, absolutely, preventable.”
“Undisputed research proves that gun violence prevention programs and policies can save lives. All schools should include training on recognizing warning signs. All legislators should pass sensible policies like background checks for all gun sales, magazine limits for firearms and extreme risk protection orders,” Hockley continued. “The greatest way we can honor all victims of American gun violence is to take action to save lives — so that no other families suffer that horrific pain. We must demand that public officials take immediate action to help end gun violence now.”
During an 8 a.m. press conference on Tuesday, Gov. Whitmer, who called for stricter gun laws last month, also spoke out about the tragedy, and the epidemic of gun violence in America, saying “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,”
Representative Elissa Slotkin added that the most haunting part of yesterday’s shooting was seeing the image of a student wearing an “Oxford Strong” sweatshirt, which were handed out after that shooting.
“As a representative of Oxford, Michigan, I cannot believe I am here again, doing this 15 months later. I am filled with rage that we have to have another press conference to talk about children being killed in their schools,” she said.
Michigan Attorney General and MSU alumna, Dana Nessel also issued a statement responding to the shooting saying, “As a parent, there is no greater fear than having your child tell you there is an active shooter at their school. I experienced this terror along with thousands of other MSU families last night. While my Spartan sons are safe, I am mourning the devastating loss and senseless violence. The events at Michigan State University are a tragedy for the entire state of Michigan. My thoughts are with the victims, their families, friends, and loved ones.”
On Thursday, Lynch said that discussions about security at the university will be had and that the community would be involved with those conversations. In the meantime, Woodruff drove home the point that the MSU community would persevere saying in part: “I believe we are a strong community and we will not allow a single individual to take our university from us.”
The op-ed in The State News, however, said “Our home will never be the same […]. Some of us feel like we can never step foot on our campus again. Some of us don’t know if we have the strength to graduate. Some of us are looking at the next 1-3 years left at MSU and wondering, ‘How am I going to do this?'”
The investigation into the MSU shooting is still ongoing. We will update this post as new information becomes available.