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Michigan State University shooting live updates: Police investigate why the suspect targeted the school

The suspect, a 43-year-old man who was not affiliated with MSU, died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, police said early Tuesday.

Coverage on this live blog has ended. Please click here for the latest updates.

Latest on campus shooting

  • Three students were killed and five were wounded in a shooting at Michigan State UniversityMonday night.
  • The shooting unfolded across two scenes, an academic building and the student union.
  • The suspect, identified as Anthony Dwayne McRae, 43, a man not affiliated with MSU, died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, police said.

Police hunt for motive in shooting

Police were still hunting for a motive Wednesday as the Michigan State University community grapples with the aftermath of the deadly shooting that left three students dead and five others wounded.

Three students — Alexandria Verner of Clawson; Brian Fraser of Grosse Pointe; and Arielle Anderson, also of Grosse Pointe — lost their lives in the deadly shooting that unfolded Monday night across two locations on the MSU campus. Five other students were critically wounded and continue to receive care

As of early Wednesday morning, it still remained unclear why the suspect, identified by police as Anthony Dwayne McRae, 43, a man with no apparent affiliation with MSU, carried out the attack on the school’s campus before taking his own life.

Read the full story here.

'We love you': Mourners remember slain student at vigil

Holding candles and standing in silence, mourners gathered to remember a student who was slain in the shooting at Michigan State University on Monday.

A crowd gathered at a football field in Clawson, near Detroit, to honor Alexandria Verner with 24 seconds of silence, to mark her basketball number, 24.

Verner graduated in 2020 from Clawson High School.

The 20-year-old was remembered as a positive role model, and someone with passion and compassion. She was one of three people killed in Monday night’s shooting, which also left five others wounded.

“Here’s to you, number 24,” Clawson Public Schools Superintendent Billy Shellenbarger said. “We love you, Alexandria Verner.”

Kelly Horne, the high school’s basketball coach and athletics director, told NBC affiliate WDIV of Detroit that “Alex was epitome of a high school student-athlete.”

“She was the best we have,” Horne said, adding “a piece of our community is gone with Al.”

MSU student shoved a dresser in front of her door as gunfire rang out

Erin Kutch

Nadine Beydoun, a junior at MSU, said Tuesday that after she was told to shelter in place, she decided to put a dresser in front of her door and turn off all the lights. 

“I would never have expected it to happen to me," she said. "It’s one of those things that you just never expect to happen to you. I still can’t believe it happened. I still can’t believe I heard gunshots next door from my dorm.”

Beydoun told "Top Story with Tom Llamas" that after Monday night's shooting that killed three students and seriously injured five others, she's nervous to eventually return back to campus. 

“I do feel like it’s going to be hard to recognize campus the same anymore. It’s going to be hard to get used to it again. It’s going to be hard to look at my dorm the same, to look at the buildings that I travel to every single day," Beydoun told Llamas. 

She said what happened on campus Monday night should not be forgotten.

"As a country, we need to stop," she said. "We need to stop moving on so quickly from these events because they need to be stopped.”

Photos: The grief-stricken Michigan State University community mourns

 Students gather for memorials Tuesday to pay tribute to those lost.
Students gather for memorials Tuesday to pay tribute to those lost.Sylvia Jarrus for NBC News; Paul Sancya /AP

As community mourns the slain, a call to address gun violence and mental health

EAST LANSING, Mich. — State Rep. Emily Dievendorf called for an end to gun violence Tuesday as students and residents remembered the three students killed on campus.

At a gathering honoring the slain students, Dievendorf, a Democrat, said lawmakers and the public need to take a “holistic” approach to gun violence and mental health. 

“This certainly affects the whole community,” she said. “We know the students are hurting.”

“We should always be alarmed when violence happens,” Dievendorf said.

Students not sure they'll ever be able to return to shooting sites

EAST LANSING, Mich. — The day after a gunman terrorized MSU’s campus, some students expressed hesitation about returning to the campus locations where students died.

Allison Blackmore, 21, a senior studying kinesiology, said she'll never set foot inside Berkey Hall or the MSU Union.

“It’s supposed to be a safe place on campus, and it wasn’t for them,” Blackmore said Tuesday about the three students who were killed and the five who were wounded.

“I won’t have to, so I won’t force myself to go there,” she said at The Rock, a well-known MSU landmark painted black with red lettering that said: “How Many More?”

Jenna Frommer, 20, a junior studying biology, said she’s anxious to return to class.

“When I’m going down the hall to take my exam next week, I’m not thinking, ‘I’m going to do well.’ I’m thinking, ‘I don’t want to die here,’” she said.

Mary Thomas, 22, a senior studying elementary education, said that she has family members who attended MSU and that the campus has always felt like a secure community. But that reality was shattered Monday night.

“It’s home away from home for so many people,” Thomas said. “Now I don’t know what it is. It’s not going to be the same — at least for a while.”

'Lightning doesn't strike twice, right?' says dad of MSU student, an Oxford High alum 

School shootings are so common that some students are now experiencing the trauma multiple times.

Matthew Riddle said his daughter, MSU student and Oxford High School alum Emma Grace Riddle, is unfortunately well prepared for a school's reopening after gunfire.

“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,” Riddle said.

The concerned father recalled his words of comfort to Emma after the Oxford High shooting outside Detroit in 2012: "'Lightning doesn’t strike twice, right? This has happened to you, and it can’t happen again, right? To Oxford, to you or anybody else,’ and frankly that’s not true."

A fraternity leader, a high school hoops star and an aspiring doctor  are mourned

More details were emerging Tuesday about the three MSU students killed in the campus shooting. One was described as a “tremendous” leader and athlete, another a “great friend” who was “loved by everyone” and the third a “straight-A student” who wanted to become a doctor.

Alexandria Verner, Brian Fraser and Arielle Anderson.
Alexandria Verner, Brian Fraser and Arielle Anderson.Clawson Public Schools; Fraser Family; via Instagram

Five students were also wounded after a gunman opened fire Monday night. Police identified the slain students as Alexandria Verner of Clawson, a junior; Brian Fraser of Grosse Pointe, a sophomore; and Arielle Anderson, also of Grosse Pointe.

Read the full story.

Michigan AG says shooter was not allowed to have weapon

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said the MSU shooter was not eligible to have a gun based on a weapons offense conviction several years ago. 

The gunman was charged in June 2019 with a felony, carrying a concealed weapon, which has a maximum penalty of five years behind bars, and a misdemeanor, possession of a loaded firearm in or upon a vehicle, which could have been punishable by up to two years in jail. He pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor and was sentenced to probation and discharged in May 2021.

Nessel said on MSNBC on Tuesday afternoon that the gunman “did have a weapons offense conviction from a few years ago. He was ineligible to possess or purchase a firearm.”

“So one of the things that we’re going to need to know is how did he get that weapon? And can we put laws in place here in Michigan to ensure that a person, such as himself, who’s ineligible to own a firearm can never access one?” she said. 

“So I expect to see a number of new laws put into place in short order, whether or not that would have prevented this particular offense from happening. I think the investigation will tell us that,” she added. 

Nessel, whose own sons attend MSU, said in a statement Monday, “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,” she added.

Third shooting victim identified as Arielle Anderson

Uwa Ede-Osifo

The third student fatally shot in the campus shooting was junior Arielle Anderson, according to an update from Michigan State University police.

Anderson was from Grosse Pointe, Michigan, as was another victim, Brian Fraser. The third student killed, Alexandria Verner, was from Clawson, Michigan.

MSU student who attended school near Sandy Hook during massacre says shootings are 'too familiar'

Jackie Matthews, a student at Michigan State University.
Jackie Matthews, a student at Michigan State University.Sylvia Jarrus for NBC News

Michigan State University senior Jackie Matthews was 11 years old when the horrific mass shooting occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School in her hometown of Newtown, Connecticut.

On Monday evening, those memories from her community’s tragedy came flooding back as school officials put MSU on lockdown amid news of an active shooter on campus. 

“Something so traumatic is devastating no matter what age you are,” said Matthews, 21, who remembers being on lockdown at Reed Intermediate School, the neighboring school to Sandy Hook.

Three students were killed and five were wounded in the MSU shooting, which unfolded across two scenes, an academic building and the student union.

As soon as Matthews learned of the situation, she started texting her friends to make sure they were safe.

“When we found out there was an active shooter across the street, we immediately locked our door,” she said. “After that, we started contacting everyone we knew … I’m just trying to be a part of the support that I received when I was at Sandy Hook for anyone at Michigan State.”

Berkey Hall, where two of the three victims' bodies were found, is a five-minute walk, just two crosswalks away, from Matthews’ home. She said earlier in the night, her roommate had been studying there when she grew uneasy. Later in the evening, they heard the news.

The suspect, who was not affiliated with MSU, died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, police said. Students and others sheltered in place for hours on the East Lansing campus, which is home to 50,000 students.

Matthews posted a TikTok early Tuesday recounting her experiences with both the MSU and the Sandy Hook shootings.

“I am 21 years old and this is now the second mass shooting I have lived through,” she said in the video, which has been viewed more than 1.3 million times on TikTok. The video has since been posted to other platforms like Twitter, where it continues to reach millions of viewers.

‘Action is what we owe to those grieving today,’ Biden says

President Joe Biden released a statement Tuesday grieving the Michigan State University shooting, saying, “Action is what we owe to those grieving today in Michigan and across America.”

“Jill and I are praying for the three students killed and the five students fighting for their lives after last night’s shooting at Michigan State University,” he said in the statement.

He said he spoke with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Monday night and directed the deployment of all necessary federal law enforcement to support local efforts. 

He noted how Monday's shooting occurred one day before the fifth anniversary of the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, that killed 17 in 2018. 

He called on Congress to “enact commonsense gun law reforms,” including requiring background checks on all gun sales and banning assault weapons. 

Second shooting victim identified as Brian Fraser

Michigan State University police officially identified two of the fatalities in the campus shooting as sophomore Brian Fraser and junior Alexandria Verner. 

Fraser was from Grosse Pointe and Verner from Clawson, both in Michigan. 

The name of the third deceased victim is not being released out of respect for the family’s wishes, authorities said. 

The five victims wounded in the hospital remain in critical condition as of Tuesday afternoon. Their names have not been released.  

MSU shooting victim identified as Alexandria Verner

One of the three Michigan State University students killed in Monday night’s shooting was identified by her former school district as Alexandria Verner. 

Clawson Public Schools in Clawson, Michigan, released a letter to district families Tuesday, saying Verner, a 2020 graduate of Clawson High School, “passed away last night on the campus of Michigan State University.”

District Superintendent Billy Shellenbarger said he spoke to the Verner family and they gave permission to release her name. 

He remembered Verner as a “tremendous student, athlete, leader” who “exemplified kindness every day of her life.”

“If you knew her, you loved her and we will forever remember the lasting impact she has had on all of us,” he wrote. 

“Her parents, Ted and Nancy, and sister Charlotte and brother TJ are equally grieving but are certainly already feeling the uplifting support of this tremendous community,” Shellenbarger wrote.

Nancy Pelosi calls for an end to gun violence

Uwa Ede-Osifo

Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., the former speaker of the House, condemned gun violence and urged for legislative action following the shooting.

"As Michigan State University endures heartbreak on this day dedicated to love and Parkland mourns 5 years since their tragic loss, we are compelled anew to disarm hate and #EndGunViolence," she tweeted Tuesday.

Note found on suspect, authorities say

Uwa Ede-Osifo

Campus police tweeted Tuesday that authorities found a note on the suspect and that it is being investigated.

The second school shooting of 2023

This is the second school shooting of the year, according to NBC News’ school shooting tracker.

Last year, 29 people — 23 students and six staff members — were killed and 29 injured by gunfire in seven school shootings. So far this year, three people, all of them students, have been killed and six injured.

The Rock at MSU painted with the phrase 'How many more?'

The Rock, a fixture on the Michigan State University campus, has been painted black in response to the mass shooting. 

Written in red on the rock’s face is the phrase: “How many more?” followed by “Stay Safe MSU.”

The Rock is considered an iconic monument on campus and is regularly painted over by students and student organizations to promote events or memorialize someone. 

MSU v. Minnesota men's basketball game postponed

Michigan State University’s home men’s basketball game against Minnesota has been postponed because of the campus shooting. 

The game had been scheduled for Wednesday night. 

Chris Rozman of MSU’s Department of Police and Public Safety said all campus activities were canceled for 48 hours.

Father of MSU shooter says his son became ‘bitter’ and ‘evil’ after his mother’s death

The Michigan State University gunman had turned “evil and mean” and became a recluse after his mother’s death in 2020, his father said Tuesday in an exclusive interview.

The shooter was identified Tuesday as Anthony McRae, 43. 

After his mother died, McRae quit his job at a warehouse and stayed in his room all day, his father, Michael McRae, said.

“He was grieving his mom. He wouldn’t let it go. He got bitter, bitter and bitter,” the elder McRae said. “His mom died, and he just started getting evil and mean. He didn’t care about anything anymore.”

The father said he did not know why his son targeted the school but believed he may have been trying to apply for a job there.

Anthony McRae's residence in Lansing, Mich.
Anthony McRae's residence in Lansing, Mich.Carlos Osorio / AP

Read the full story.

Gov. Whitmer orders flags lowered to half-staff after MSU shooting

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer ordered U.S. and Michigan flags across the state to be lowered to half-staff Tuesday in remembrance of the victims of the shooting. 

The flags will be lowered within the State Capitol Complex, public buildings and grounds across the state, until further notice. 

“The whole state of Michigan is wrapping its arms around the Spartan community today,” Whitmer said in a statement. 

She said the college campus is a "special place," now "the site of a tragic and senseless act of violence."

“I’m heartbroken for the victims and every student, parent, faculty, and MSU staff member affected by last night’s events. I want to thank law enforcement, first responders, and medical professionals for acting quickly to protect campus and save lives,” she said.

She called for an end to gun violence, saying it has claimed “the lives of too many Americans.”

Ewing Public Schools in New Jersey closed Tuesday due to note found in MSU shooter's pocket

Public schools in Ewing, New Jersey, were closed Tuesday after an investigation found that the MSU shooter had a note that “indicated a threat to two Ewing Public Schools.”

The Ewing Police Department said it was notified Tuesday morning by New Jersey State Police about the MSU campus shooting “which had a possible connection to Ewing.”

The investigation found the gunman, Anthony McRae, 43, had “local ties to Ewing Township" and a history of mental health issues, police said.

“When McRae was found by police in Michigan, he had a note in his pocket" indicating the threat, police said.

Ewing Public Schools were closed out of an abundance of caution and officers were stationed at each closed school, as well as at others in the township.

"After further investigation, it has been determined that the incident is isolated to Michigan, and there is no threat to Ewing Schools," police said.

Ewing police said their investigation found that McRae has not resided in the area in several years.

Officers will remain at all schools Tuesday and the normal school schedule is anticipated to resume Wednesday. 

FBI and police ask for photos and videos of shooting

Authorities are asking for the public to send in photos or videos related to the shooting on Michigan State University’s campus Monday night. 

The FBI and Michigan State University Department of Police and Public Safety are asking for anyone with footage to submit it via an online form. 

Students who died were shot at 2 different locations, police say

The three students who died in the MSU campus shooting Monday evening were shot at two different locations, police said.

“Two of the victims from Berkey Hall are deceased, one victim from the Union is deceased,” Chris Rozman, MSU's interim police deputy chief, said in a Tuesday morning briefing.

He could not confirm where the five injured victims being treated at E. W. Sparrow Hospital in Lansing were when they were shot. 

“I believe most of them were from Berkey Hall,” he said.  

Caller's tip led police to MSU shooting suspect

A tip from an observant caller ultimately led police to close in on Michigan State University shooting suspect Anthony Dwayne McRae late Monday, police said.

"Because of our quick release of the photograph from the campus security cameras and the help from our community, it was a caller’s tip that led law enforcement to that suspect in the city of Lansing," said Chris Rozman, MSU interim police deputy chief.

"We cannot thank the public, and the community, and the person who called in that report enough for being observant, for following our messaging, and being vigilant and contacting us immediately," he said.

He said a weapon was recovered, but no details were shared. 

A search warrant was also executed on a residence "that was connected to the suspect in this case," Rozman said, without disclosing where that home was.

Students broke open a window and jumped out, survivor says

Claire Papoulias was attending a class about Cuban history inside Berkey Hall, sitting right in the middle of the third or fourth row among approximately 30 students, when the gunman opened fire from behind her Monday night, she said.

"I could hear gunshots like directly behind my head. And I could see the smoke, gunpowder or something from the weapon firing," she told NBC's "TODAY" show, adding, "immediately I dropped to the floor with all my classmates."

"I felt super spaced out and my heart dropped and my chest just tightened," she said. "I thought that I was gonna die," she said.

Students screamed for help while some scrambled to break open a window, allowing classmates to escape.

"I remember I just ran for my life," she said.

'We have no idea what the motive was,' police say

Questions still remain as to what motivated and precipitated the shooting at Michigan State University on Monday night.

“We have absolutely no idea what the motive was at this point," Chris Rozman of the Michigan State University Police said at Tuesday morning's briefing.

Police say the suspect had no ties to the school.

"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," Rozman said.

"That’s an unknown right now. That’s what we’re trying to understand, why this incident occurred. We don’t have an answer right now and that’s the honest truth," he added.

MSU shooting suspect identified as Anthony Dwayne McRae, 43

Police identified the suspect in the MSU shooting as 43-year-old Anthony Dwayne McRae on Tuesday morning.

The first call regarding the shooting came in before 8:30 p.m. Monday and culminated with the suspect located at 11:35 p.m. in Lansing. McRae died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, Chris Rozman with Michigan State University Police said.

"The suspect was located by units that were assisting in looking for that suspect after the shootings," he said.

Officials previously said he had no ties to the university.

All victims in MSU shooting were students, officials say

The three people killed in Monday night's MSU shooting, as well as the five people injured and hospitalized, were all MSU students, university police said Tuesday morning.

Their names were not released.

Officials to provide update shortly

Officials will provide an update on the shooting at 8 a.m. ET, MSU police said in a tweet.

"The next media briefing will take place at 8 a.m. ET at the Henry Center for Executive Development — 3535 Forest Rd, Lansing, MI 48910," police said.

Biden has spoken with Michigan Gov. Whitmer about shooting

President Joe Biden spoke to Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Monday evening, a White House official told NBC News.

"The President spoke to Governor Whitmer this evening about the shooting at Michigan State University," the official said.

"The FBI and additional federal law enforcement are already on campus to support local and state response efforts underway," the official added.

MSU shooting a 'flashback' for Oxford High survivors

Less than a hundred miles away from Oxford High School, where Andrea Ferguson's daughter survived a mass shooting in 2021, Michigan State University became the ground for another attack the teenager found herself trapped in Monday night.

Ferguson, whose daughter recently started her first semester at MSU, told NBC affiliate WDIV she "never expected in my lifetime to have to experience two school shootings."

"It was like reliving Oxford all over again," she said, referring to the mass shooting which left four students dead at the high school. "The phone call, the word shooting, shooter, it was surreal."

Remembering the previous shooting, Oakland County Sheriff's Office said in a Facebook post, "We also know that this will be a terrible flashback for our Oxford community, especially those students that graduated from Oxford high school and now attend MSU."

Photo: Officers outside Michigan State University

Police investigate the scene of a shooting at Berkey Hall on the campus of Michigan State University, late Monday, in East Lansing.

Al Goldis / AP

Buildings where shootings unfolded were unlocked and open to public, police say

The two MSU campus buildings where the shootings unfolded were both unlocked and "open to the public," police said in an update early Tuesday.

Berkey Hall, where gunfire was first reported, is "a purely academic building," said Chris Rozman, interim deputy chief of the Michigan State University Police.

"That building is unlocked and open to the public during business hours, if you will," he said. He said the shooting unfolded before the building was "secured overnight" and that "to my knowledge, there were activities occurring in that building as part of the academic function of the university."

The MSU Union, where the second shooting unfolded, was similarly unlocked and open to the public, Rozman said.

MSU students to be offered counseling

Students at Michigan State University will be offered counseling services in the wake of Monday's tragedy.

Starting at 9 a.m. Tuesday, MSU Counseling and Psychiatric Services will be partnering with local providers to offer counseling to students in need, the university announced on its website.

Counseling services will be available at the Hannah Community Center located at 819 Abbot Road in East Lansing, it said.

Armored vehicles, drones and canines deployed in response to shooting

"Significant equipment" was deployed in response to the MSU shooting, including armored vehicles, drones and canines, the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office said.

SWAT officers, mobile command vehicles and personnel were also deployed, the sheriff's office, which is based in Pontiac, about 75 miles east of the MSU campus, said in a Facebook post.

All MSU classes and campus activities canceled

All classes, both virtual and in person, have been canceled at MSU for at least a 48-hour period, the university said Tuesday morning.

Athletic events and "all other campus activities" have also been canceled, the school said on its website in an update just after 1 a.m. ET.

"Supervisors will be notifying designated essential employees if they should report to campus tomorrow," the school said.

Shooting comes on eve of Parkland massacre anniversary

Monday's shooting unfolded on the eve of the fifth anniversary of the Parkland school shooting that left 14 students and three staff members dead.

The Feb. 14, 2018, massacre at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, sparked widespread protests over gun violence and school shootings in the United States.

"Five years ago to the day, 17 people were killed in Parkland in a horrific shooting that never should have happened," March For Our Lives, a youth-driven organization originally created by students who survived the Parkland mass shooting, said in a tweet.

"Now, another shooting at MSU that never should have happened. Grieve for the dead. Fight like hell for the living," it said.

Reunification center clears out

An area that was being used as a reunification center in the aftermath of the shooting has closed, authorities said.

The MSU Pavilion had been identified as a reunification spot following the deadly incident, but Michigan State University Police said the center had been closed as of around 3 a.m.

"No students remain at that location," the police said in a tweet.

Photo: Students gather outside Michigan State campus

Students gather on the campus of Michigan State University after a shelter-in-place order was lifted early Tuesday in East Lansing.

 A gunman opened fire Monday night at Michigan State University, killing three people and wounding five more, before fatally shooting himself after an hours-long manhunt that forced frightened students to hide in the dark. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)
Al Goldis / AP

Five wounded remain in critical condition

The five people wounded in Monday's shooting were still in critical condition as of Tuesday morning, a university official said.

Speaking at a news conference at around 1:30 a.m., interim University President Teresa K. Woodruff said the five people taken to E.W. Sparrow Hospital in Lansing remained critically wounded.

She said officials may have future updates on their conditions later Tuesday morning.

Photo: Tent covers body of gunman in Lansing

A tent covers the body of a gunman on Feb. 14, 2023, in Lansing, Mich., who opened fire Monday night at Michigan State University.
Carlos Osorio / AP

3 people dead as police hunt for motive

Three people are dead and five others wounded after a shooting at Michigan State University on Monday that ended with the suspect fatally shooting himself, police said.

The shooting saw students and others shelter in place for hours on the East Lansing campus, which is home to 50,000 students.

The suspected shooter, a 43-year-old man who police said had no affiliation to the university, was found dead with a self-inflicted gunshot wound following a confrontation with law enforcement in the adjacent city of Lansing, said Chris Rozman, interim deputy chief of the Michigan State University Police.

The shooter has yet to be identified and a motive remains unknown, police said.