On Monday, February 13th, three people were killed and five others injured when Anthony Dwayne McRae opened fire on the Michigan State University campus. Two people were killed in Berkey Hall, the first location where McRae opened fire. McRae proceeded to the Michigan State student union, where he again opened fire, killing another person. The shooter fled from the Michigan State University campus and was the subject of a three-hour police manhunt until he was found dead with a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Police had been tipped to his whereabouts by a local who had recognized him after a picture of him had been circulated. His body was found in East Lansing, where Michigan State University is located.
“We can confirm that the 43-year-old suspect had no affiliation to the university. He was not a student, faculty, or staff, current or previous,” Chris Rozman of the Michigan State University Police said. “We have absolutely no idea what the motive was at this point.”
McRae, who was originally from Central New Jersey, was found by Michigan Police with a note on his person threatening public schools in Ewing, New Jersey, where he was from. Police in Ewing, New Jersey said there was no threat to the schools shortly after being notified of the note.
All victims of the shooting were students at Michigan State University. Brian Fraser, Alexandria Verner, and Arielle Diamond Anderson are the students that fell victim and died during the school shooting. The wounded students were reported to be in critical condition and receiving medical treatment at Sparrow Hospital.
McRae walked onto the Michigan State University campus at 8:15 pm on Monday, opening fire. A gunshot was heard outside before the gunman proceeded to enter a classroom, opening fire on students. Three minutes later, 911 calls are made from people on campus reporting gunfire. By 8:31 pm, the university issues an alert to the entire university to “run, hide, fight” as well as a shelter-in-place alert. Almost 2 hours later at 10:04 pm, another alert was issued saying there was an active shooter on campus, informing students to continue to shelter in place and stay quiet. At 11 pm, authorities in the area were notified that 5 people had been shot. The university managed to get photos of the gunman from campus cameras. 15 minutes later, the photos of the suspect are released and circulated, with an individual from Lansing, Michigan spotting him and notifying officials. An hour later, at 12:28 am, authorities find McRae dead from a self-inflicted wound and end the shelter-in-place alert.
The shooting shocked the Michigan State University and East Lansing community. All activities at the Michigan State campus were put on hold for 48 hours following the shooting, said Michigan State University’s President Teresa Woodruff.
Mass shootings, including those at schools and places where a lot of people gather, have become a regular occurrence in the U.S. Democrat House Representative Elissa Slotkin of Michigan lamented the ongoing problem of gun violence saying, “The most haunting picture of last night was watching the cameras pan through the crowd and seeing a young person wearing an ‘Oxford Strong’ sweatshirt. The shirts were handed out to survivors of the Oxford High School shooting near Detroit, Michigan 15 months ago.”
Following the shooting, news broke that a survivor of the Sandy Hook school shooting that took place in 2012 was enrolled in Michigan State University, going through and surviving the second school shooting in her life. Another student, of which Representative Slotkin was talking about, also survived their second school shooting, having lived through the Oxford High School shooting less than two years ago.
Jaqueline Matthews and Emma Riddle, respectively, have lived through two once-in-a-lifetime school shootings in their lifetimes. Matthews, 21, has a permanent back injury from crouching and hiding while a gunman shot and killed 26 students and teachers.
Riddle tweeted, “14 months ago I had to evacuate from Oxford High School when a fifteen-year-old opened fire and killed four of my classmates and injured seven more. Tonight, I am sitting under my desk at Michigan State University, once again texting everyone ‘I love you.’ When will this end?”
Representative Slotkin said, “We have children in Michigan who are living their second school shooting in under a year and a half. If this is not a wake-up call to do something, I don’t know what is.”
A mass shooting is defined as a shooting event in which four or more people are injured or killed, not including the individual initiating the event. According to the gun violence archive, there have been more mass shootings than days in 2023.