The victims of a shooting that killed three students and five others at Michigan State, in the midst of the Florida high school shooting on Monday night
A mass shooting at Michigan State University left three people dead and five others critically wounded Monday evening, triggering an hourslong manhunt and shelter-in-place orders before the suspect died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, police said.
The gunman was a 43-year-old man who was not affiliated with the university, Interim Deputy Chief Chris Rozman said, adding, “We have no idea why he came to campus to do this tonight.” Police have not said whether the victims were students or given their names or ages.
More horror, in yet another city, in the cycle of sudden death that can strike anyone, anywhere. On the eve of the fifth anniversary of the massacre at the Florida high school where 17 people were killed, three students and five others were fatally shot at Michigan State. The 15th anniversary of a mass shooting that left 5 students dead at Northern Illinois University is Tuesday.
“The FBI and their colleagues are going through the history of this person to try to understand what his motivations were, to try to understand what brought him to this moment in this community at this time,” CNN senior law enforcement analyst Andrew McCabe said. “This community is struggling to understand why they are the latest in what is a uniquely American experience, and understanding and experiencing a mass shooting in their midst.”
After the first gunshots rang out, the suspect was contacted by law enforcement away from campus, and it appeared that he had died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Trush said he was watching TV just after 8 p.m. in his apartment when he saw police cars and ambulances speeding down Grand River Avenue. The people ran out of the building.
We are relieved to no longer be under threat on campus, but we realize that there is a lot of healing to do after this, which is why we have an interim chief of the police.
As shelter-in-place orders were in place on Monday evening, another student, who goes by the name of Gabriel, said he and his dorm mates hunkered down and turned to a local police scanner for information.
Another MSU student, Nithya Charles, told CNN she was sheltering within a lounge area at Campbell Hall on the north side of campus with about 30 other people.
“We’re not learning very much,” Charles told CNN’s Erin Burnett earlier in the night, saying she did not hear any gunshots herself, but that some of her co-workers heard shots.
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Though the threat to the campus is over, students will continue to have a police presence for the next two days as investigators look at a number of different scenes.
All campus activities, including both in-person and virtual classes, have been canceled for 48 hours. Counselors are provided by the school for students and employees.
“We want to give peace to families that are touched by this tragedy and give them the peace that allows them to understand,” he said. “We cannot allow this to continue to happen again.”
The attack at MSU – which came one day before the five-year anniversary of a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida – resulted in the closure of all East Lansing Public Schools Tuesday.
Tonight has been terrible. It’s been horrific for all of the students here and around the region. Schools have been closed. This has affected our whole region, our whole community. It’s affected families, everyone across our community,” Lansing Mayor Andy Schor said.
He said that it was a nightmare that they were living tonight. “We are relieved to no longer have an active threat on campus, while we realize that there is so much healing that will need to take place after this,” he added.
The size of the campus meant that responding to the shooting was a monumental task, according to the vice president for public safety.
“We have 400 buildings on campus and over 5,300 acres and part of the process of the response that we had is that we were able to divide and organize to be methodical in the search process and obtain evidence and share as it comes through. Lynch said that with a university’s size and responsibility, that becomes a task.
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The two buildings at the center of Monday evening’s shootings are accessible to the general public during business hours, police said in an early morning news conference Tuesday.
Hundreds of officers from different agencies responded to the scene. The victims were taken to Sparrow Hospital. They were listed in critical condition, but no other information about the victims was available, Rozman said.
By 10:15 p.m. ET, police said Berkey and other buildings, were secured, and the shelter in place warning was lifted early Tuesday morning. Police stopped parents from coming to campus.
“For parents, we understand,” Rozman said. “I can only imagine the emotion that’s involved right now. It’s going to give us some help, and it’s also going to help us identify the shooter, because so many people are on campus right now.
America has had its latest mass shooting and it has written a new community in the roll call of colleges stigmatized by tragedy. To Northern Illinois, the University of Virginia and Virginia Tech, add Michigan State University.
The day brought the familiar futile anger over the tortured politics of gun control and splits among Americans about firearms that mean that – even after more senseless deaths – nothing will be done.
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Parents worry about their sons or daughters fitting in at college and could struggle with academics if they use alcohol or drugs. Now, they must also worry about mass shootings. Can a nation that cannot guarantee its kids are safe at school still protect them at college?
The Michigan Democratic lawmaker said survivors and family members from Michigan State are terrified. It is not something that we care about, or that we do anything about.
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel told CNN that when she dropped her kids off at Michigan State a year-and-a-half ago she thought, “It is going to be a miracle if we get these kids through four years of college without some sort of an incident like this taking place, because they happen so frequently.”
Monday’s killings led to a heartbreaking only-in-America moment, when a young Parkland survivor counseled stricken Michigan State Spartans on how to process their nightmare and what they would experience in the years ahead.
Five years ago, I almost died in school. There are more young people who lost their lives because of gun violence in college, according to Aalayah Eastmond. “I’m so sad that so many other communities are dealing with this issue every single day.”
Each kid is now familiar with active shooter drills. Every parent knows the lurking anxiety that the worse could happen one day when they drop their child off at class. One of the only mercies of Covid-19 school shutdowns was that fear went away for a while.
In 1999 the high school shooting in Colorado that killed 12 students and a teacher, and the Virginia Tech massacre in 2007, which killed 32 people, marked a previous generation of students.
Billy Shellenbarger remembered Alexandria Verner as “everything you’d want your daughter or friend to be”, one of three students who died. The two other students killed were Arielle Anderson and Brian Fraser who both graduated in 2021 from high schools in Grosse Point, Michigan.
Jon Dean asked how it is possible that this happened, and that the violence has no place in our society or in school. It touched our community twice.
In Washington after a mass shooting, the rituals of grief and regret have been played out but without expectation that politicians would stop it from happening again.
President Joe Biden and a bipartisan group of senators did pass the most significant gun safety law in decades last year, though it failed to ban any weapons and fell well short of what the White House, gun control advocates and most Americans want to see. Future gun control legislation is unthinkable with Republicans now holding a narrow House majority.
When the Democrats sweep the governorship of Michigan and both houses of the legislature, firearms reform activists hope they will open the possibility of significant changes to the law, but it’s not easy to change the gun laws in swing states.
Biden, speaking at a conference of county executives in Washington, lamented a family’s best nightmare that’s happening far too often in this country.
“We have to do something to stop gun violence ripping apart our communities,” he said, and renewed his call for an assault weapon ban that everyone knows had no chance of passing even in a Democratic-run Congress.
It is possible that individuals will act given the paralysis of gun politics. Several recent cases of mass shootings have appeared to have a common factor: the disturbed mental state of an eventual perpetrator who had access to guns.
In Washington, there is not much effort from the Republicans to spend the huge amount of money needed to change mental health services. Republican governors and legislatures are relaxing gun laws so that they will make it easier for people to get guns.
While police are still searching for a motive for the Michigan State gunman’s rampage, his father, Michael McRae, said that after his mother died several years ago, he became “more and more bitter … angry and bitter … evil angry.” The gunman’s sister told CNN her brother was socially isolated and a criminal history with weapons. He had a history of mental health issues, according to police.
More pro- active action by loved ones and others could allow more red flag laws to be passed to take weapons from the mentally ill, despite the stalemate surrounding guns rights and gun control. Katherine Schweit, a former FBI senior official and active shooter expert, said people who see relatives deteriorating mentally need to act.
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“We have to follow through, we have to report stuff,” she told CNN’s Jake Tapper. “It’s the ‘see something, say something’ that has prevented us having the terrorist events in the United States. We need to do the same thing for these types of situations.”
My brother and I are in the back of a blue Astrovan with my parents in the front of it as it drives us through a maze of roads. The sun is shining and the air is just chilly enough for the whole family to be bundled in puffy coats; mine is hiding the green and white jumper I wore every Saturday we spent at Spartan Stadium.
On game days when the energy was great, and when I was able to get some ice cream for dessert on quiet evenings, Michigan State University was the stuff of childhood dreams. I was safe in this community where we looked out for one another. I had space to run and play, to grow and imagine and learn.
At last, we went out of the car and walked towards the sea, with the sound of a drumline in the distance. I would get lost and my mom would scoop me up in her arms to make sure I wasn’t. On rare occasion, I was allowed to run around the field before the game and talk to the football coach (though even as an adult I haven’t worked out how my mom orchestrated that).
It was past 8 p.m., but knowing that my mom often stayed late at work, I checked her shared location on my phone. There were gunshots at a sports facility and she was in her office right down the street.
I didn’t think it would be ok as I read her words. And as the night progressed and we came to realize the extent of the tragedy that unfolded, it became clear that it was anything but fine: three lives were lost, five people were wounded and many thousands more were indelibly changed having borne witness to a mass shooting.
I breathed a sigh of relief when the shooter was confirmed dead and my mother was located along her usual route home. But the ordeal didn’t feel over. Now, more than a day later, it still doesn’t feel over.
The list feels endless. I think about the words Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer spoke on Tuesday morning – “Our Spartan community is reeling today” – and I wonder if the “reeling” ever ends and, if it does, what comes afterward.
There are answers to these questions, guidance for past mass shooting survivors, and traditional wisdom that time heals all wounds. We must face the fact that more people will join this growing community of loss as we wait for that healing to start.