Scott Olson/Getty Images North America
A gunman shot and killed three students at Michigan State University Monday night. The shooter also injured five students, all of whom were listed in critical condition at a local hospital as of Tuesday morning.
Authorities said at a news conference Tuesday that the gunman was Anthony McRae, a 43-year-old with no connection to Michigan State. He shot himself dead, off campus, after police tracked him down. At the news conference, officials said they had no indication as yet of the motive for the shootings.
The three students who were killed are Arielle Anderson, Brian Fraser and Alexandria Verner, The Detroit News reported. Fraser played lacrosse in high school. “He was a good kid,” said his father, Sean Fraser. “He was loved by everyone.”
The shootings started shortly after 8 p.m. Two were killed in the building that houses the College of Social Science and one in the student union.
Michigan State sent out a shelter-in-place order shortly after the first shooting, which was lifted early Tuesday. Officials praised Michigan State students for staying in place during that time.
The university canceled all classes for the rest of the week and is providing extra counseling services to students and employees.
Teresa Woodruff, Michigan State’s interim president, said early Tuesday, “We’re devastated with the loss of life, and we want to wrap our arms around every family touched by this tragedy.”
She said, “Our Spartan hearts are broken.”
Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer said Tuesday morning, “Certain places are supposed to be about community, learning or joy—elementary schools and college campuses, movie theaters and dance halls, grocery stores and workplaces. They should not be the sites of bloodshed,” The Detroit News reported.
“This is a uniquely American problem. Too many of us scan rooms for exits when we enter them. We plan who that last text or call would go to. We should not, we cannot, accept living like this,” Whitmer said.
The board of Michigan State issued this statement: “This morning, the board talked with families who lost their children due to senseless violence our community is suffering. We are devastated with them and for them. Please hold space with the entire Spartan community as we navigate the weeks ahead. We will get through this difficult time by healing together.”
Michigan State canceled a men’s basketball game against the University of Minnesota scheduled for Wednesday night, The Detroit Free Press reported. The university also called off a men’s tennis match against Drake University and a women’s basketball game at Purdue University.
Also Tuesday, President Biden issued a statement about the shootings.
“Our hearts are with these young victims and their families, the broader East Lansing and Lansing communities, and all Americans across the country grieving as the result of gun violence,” Biden said. “The fact that this shooting took place the night before this country marks five years since the deadly shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, should cause every American to exclaim ‘enough’ and demand that Congress take action. As I said in my State of the Union address last week, Congress must do something and enact common-sense gun law reforms, including requiring background checks on all gun sales, banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, closing loopholes in our background check system, requiring safe storage of guns, and eliminating immunity for gun manufacturers who knowingly put weapons of war on our streets. Action is what we owe to those grieving today in Michigan and across America.”
Shootings on campus have become common.
In 2019, two students were killed at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. One of the students was trying to save other students when he was killed.
While students are most frequently the victims of campus shootings, they are not the only ones.
Other shootings are threatened. A former postdoc at the University of California, Los Angeles, who was charged last year with sending an 803-page manifesto in which he threatened a mass shooting at UCLA as well as killing individual faculty members, has been found by a judge to not be capable of standing trial.
Thomas Meixner, a professor at the University of Arizona, was killed in October, allegedly by Murad Dervish, an expelled graduate student. A faculty report released this month said the university did not respond effectively to numerous threats by Dervish.
According to the faculty report, Meixner said, as he was dying, “I knew you were going to do this!”