EAST LANSING, Mich. – Two days after a gunman’s rampage left three students dead on the campus of Michigan State University, investigators were still hunting Wednesday for an answer to one question: Why?
The gunman, who lived in Lansing and had no known ties to the university, died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound when confronted by police about three hours after his rampage Monday evening. A tip had led authorities to the killer just 17 minutes after photos from surveillance video were released to the public.
He lived the last two years with his father at the end of a quiet street of older homes in Lansing’s north end, neighbors said.
“We have absolutely no idea what the motive was,” Chris Rozman, MSU’s interim deputy police chief, said Tuesday.
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Sandy Hook survivor, MSU student: ‘We can no longer be complacent’
Alerts urging Michigan State University students to “run, hide, fight” sent them fleeing in the night in the minutes after the shooting started Monday. The chaos brought back memories for Jaqueline Matthews, a member of the Michigan State rowing team, who crouched for so long when gunfire erupted at Sandy Hook Elementary a decade ago that her back was permanently injured. On Monday, the 21-year-old international law major watched mayhem unfold again, this time from her campus window.
“The fact that this is the second mass shooting that I have now lived through is incomprehensible,” she said in a TikTok video. “We can no longer be complacent.”
‘The Rock’ at MSU painted with pro-gun slogan
A symbolic rock that at Michigan State that has been serving as an impromptu memorial to victims of the shooting was repainted overnight with a pro-gun slogan. The rock, which has bouguets of flowers strewn around it sincethe shooting, had been painted with a sign “How many more?” On Wednesday morning the message was “Allow us to defend ourselves & carry on campus.”
The university will host a vigil to honor and remember the shooting victims Wednesday evening at The Rock. University officials, including Interim President Teresa Woodruff and the chair of the university’s Board of Trustees, Rema Vassar, and student leaders are expected to attend.
Three bouquets for three Michigan State shooting victims
Julia Wallace, an MSU senior, placed three bouquets of flowers at the feet of the Sparty statue at MSU. Wallace was at Bessey Hall on Monday in a club meeting, talking to an alumni panel on video conference, when the alert came across the screen.
“Once it was announced, I was like, ‘Oh … I need to get out of here.’ Then we all awkwardly got up,” she said. “Do we hide? I was like, ‘I’m not going to sit here and be a sitting duck, that’s the last thing I’m going to do.'”
She said everyone got up and calmly walked out of the building – then sprinted to their cars and “booked it home.”
“For some reason that was the first thought on my mind this morning – to go show my community that I’m impacted and that I feel for others,” she said. “I kind of didn’t think, I just did. I got the three (bouquets) for the three lives lost because it’s just horrible.”
Michigan lawmakers put gun violence back on state agenda
Democratic lawmakers responding to the deadly shootings at Michigan State University say they will introduce state legislation to address gun violence that stalled in the past. While they provided a general outline of bills they plan to put forward, exact details on the forthcoming proposals and timing of their proposals remain unclear.
Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer last month proposed universal background checks, extreme risk protection orders to keep guns away from those deemed a danger to themselves or others and safe storage requirements. Senate Majority Leader Winnie Brinks, a Democrat, on Tuesday called the proposals “common sense” measures that enjoy public support – and that other proposals are likely. Read more here.
– Clara Hendrickson, Detroit Free Press
Student hid in car for three hours
Ted Zimbo, a 26-year-old astrophysics major, said he was heading back to his residence hall after an off-campus meeting when he saw police cars everywhere and a blood-covered woman hiding behind a car. She told him that someone came into her classroom and started shooting.
“Her hands were completely covered in blood. It was on her pants and her shoes,” he told The Associated Press. “She said, ‘It’s my friend’s blood.’”
That, he said, is when it hit him: “There was a real shooting, a mass shooting.”
The woman picked up her phone and started crying, unsure of what happened to her friend. Zimbo spent the next three hours hunkered down in his Toyota SUV, a blanket tossed over him.
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The students who died were from the Detroit area
University police identified the three dead students as sophomores Arielle Anderson and Brian Fraser and junior Alexandria Verner. Fraser was a fraternity chapter president. Verner was a science student with fond memories of her days as a high-school athlete. Anderson was a frequent volunteer who wanted to become a pediatrician. All were from the Detroit area. Read more here.
“It’s just a senseless, unspeakable tragedy that’s impacting the Michigan State community, impacting the Grosse Pointe community and it’s just, it’s horrific,” Grosse Pointe Superintendent Jon Dean said.
Shooter had history of mental health problems
A clearer picture began to emerge Tuesday about the 43-year-old shooter. Anthony Dwayne McRae pleaded guilty to a gun-related charge in 2019 after he was found with a Ruger LCP .380 semi-automatic pistol in his pants pocket and a loaded magazine in his breast pocket but didn’t have a concealed weapons permit, according to court records.
Authorities said Anthony Dwayne McRae had once been on probation for the gun offense and had a history of mental health struggles. He shot and killed himself after a manhunt that ended in a confrontation with police miles from campus, authorities said Tuesday.
Contributing: Bryce Airgood and Mike Ellis, Lansing State Journal; Kristen Jordan Shamus, Detroit Free Press; The Associated Press