Police investigate gunman’s motives, Gov. Whitmer promises big change
By Pat Gainor, Staff Writer
Three students are dead and five more have been hospitalized after a shooting at Michigan State University (MSU) last week.
According to police reports compiled by Michigan State police, perpetrator Anthony McRae entered Berkey Hall, an academic building at 8:18 p.m. on Feb. 13 and shot several students. He would make his way across campus and enter the MSU Union building at 8:30 p.m., again firing at students before escaping campus to nearby East Lansing.
The gunman took his own life hours later as he was confronted by police. He was at large for roughly four hours after the shooting, according to MSU Interim Chief Deputy Chris Rozman.
The victims were 19-year-old Arielle Anderson from Grosse Point, 20-year-old Brian Fraser from Grosse Point and 20-year-old Alexandria Verner from Clawson, Michigan. Verner was majoring in integrated biology and anthropology, Fraser was the President of MSU’s Phi Delta Theta club and Anderson was looking to become a surgeon.
Two of the five injured in the shooting have been upgraded from critical condition to stable condition. Two of the three still in intensive care have been paralyzed from the neck down.
“This is still a fluid situation,” Rozman said. “There are several different crime scenes that we’re processing with our state and federal partners and still a lot of work that needs to be done.”
The shooter had been convicted of illegally carrying a concealed weapon in 2019, a felony that would have prevented him from being allowed to purchase a gun. However, he instead accepted a plea deal that downgraded the felony to a misdemeanor and was sentenced to 1.5 years of probation. He was allowed to purchase a gun after the probation ended and did so in 2021.
The gunman’s father said that following his mother’s death in 2020, his son became bitter, isolated and “evil angry.”
“He didn’t care about anything no more,” he said.
In a note recovered off his body, the gunman also alluded to future shootings in the Ewing school district in New Jersey, where he grew up, saying there would be “20 of him” ready to carry out the massacres. Ewing authorities have since confirmed that there is no active threat to the schools, though schools were closed on Feb. 14 as a precautionary measure.
Michigan State authorities said that his motive to attack the university is unclear and still under investigation by the FBI and other national justice resources.
In the wake of the shooting, Governor Gretchen Wilmer condemned the amount of mass shootings in America as a “truly American problem” and promised to push forward legislative changes.
“The time for only thoughts and prayers is over,” Whitmer tweeted accompanying a released video statement. “We are in a unique position to take action and save lives. And that’s exactly what we are going to do in the weeks ahead.”
Several students have spoken out about the terror they felt while the university was in lockdown and how things will never be the same again.
Emma Grace Riddle, a first-year history major at MSU, was also a survivor of the Oxford High School shooting in November 2021, just under 15 months prior to this shooting.
“It sucks to even say this, but she knows what’s coming over the next few days and how to deal with her trauma and what’s going to happen with vigils and the folks who are experiencing it for the first time,” her father said.
Last Thursday, Xavier SGA President Ashley Findley released a statement to all students on campus, condemning the shooting and calling it “frightening, unsettling and outrageous.” The email offered links to Student Support Resources, as well as ways to contact student leaders for support as well.
Xavier will host a vigil in honor of the three students killed today.