Michigan State victims: Brian Fraser, Alex Verner and Arielle Anderson

  • Brian Fraser, a sophmore, was a fraternity president
  • Alexandria Verner, a junior, excelled at school and sports
  • Arielle Diamond Anderson aspired to be a pediatrician 

LANSING — Brian Fraser was a fraternity president with leadership skills. Arielle Anderson loved kids and aspired to become a pediatrician. Alexandria Verner was a top notch student and described as “the perfect kid.” 

All three are now dead, victims of a mass shooter at Michigan State University who also injured five other students Monday night. 

Campus police identified Fraser and Verner on Tuesday afternoon and later confirmed Anderson as the third student they say was killed by suspected shooter Anthony McRae.

Fraser, a sophomore from Grosse Pointe, was president of the MSU Chapter of Phi Delta Theta, a national fraternity centered on “the potential of each brother and the lifelong values of friendship, sound learning and rectitude.”

Brian Fraser with his fraternity brothers. (Courtesy of Phi Delta Theta Fraternity)

Fraser was “a great dude,” said Will White, a longtime friend who attended Grosse Pointe South High School with Fraser before pledging the fraternity with him at MSU.

“A gentleman,” White added. “Cared about his friends a lot. Like the best friend I could ever ask for, honestly.”

White, 20, was huddling with friends Tuesday afternoon, still trying to process the trauma. He told Bridge Michigan he had learned that morning that Fraser had been killed in the evening attack. 

Fraser was studying business and economics and was a natural leader, which was evident in his eagerness to become fraternity president, White said in a short interview he said he was too grief stricken to continue. 

They, along with a third fraternity member, last year attended the Kleberg Emerging Leaders Institute at Miami University in Ohio, where Phi Delta Theta was founded.

Fraser “wanted the workload” that came with leading the fraternity, White said. “There’s a lot of responsibility with it, and he’s a responsible guy. He had his shit together.” 

Brian Fraser with his fraternity brothers. (Courtesy of Phi Delta Theta Fraternity)

Anderson was a 2021 graduate of Grosse Pointe North High School, district officials confirmed Tuesday afternoon. 

On Monday evening, Anderson’s aunt Chandra Davis, a model and former reality show contestant known as Deelishis, posted on Instagram that Anderson was in her classroom in the same building as the shooter and had not heard from her.

Friends and family later posted social media tributes to Anderson. One relative identified on Instagram as ShayBaby called Anderson an “angel on earth.”

On Tuesday, family members recalled that they last saw Arielle last weekend. She had come home Thursday to visit her mother Dawana Davis in Harper Woods, just east of Detroit. They went to a Detroit Pistons game, and the teen spent time with her grandmother April Davis and an aunt who has special needs. 

On Sunday morning, Anderson’s father took her back to school. 

Kim Spivey, another aunt, confirmed that Anderson was in class when the shooting happened. “She was super smart, at the top of her class,” Spivey said. “She was going to be a doctor.” 

Still just 19, Anderson was supposed to be a sophomore at Michigan State, but she earned enough credits to move up to her junior year at Grosse Pointe North.  

“She loved it,” Spivey said of MSU. “Her mom wanted her to go to Wayne State, but she was like, ‘No I wanna go to Michigan State.’” 

One of Anderson’s favorite hobbies was photography and her aunt said her art was featured at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. Anderson also liked creating content on her Youtube channel, going to concerts and spending time with her family. 

“She had a special needs auntie who she loved,” said Davis, the grandmother. “That was her pride and joy.” 

“Everybody loved her,” added Spivey. “Nobody’s perfect, but she’s close as they come.” 

Verner, a junior at MSU, was from Clawson in Oakland County. Her grandfather, Charles Neal, described her as an all-season athlete in high school and straight-A college student. 

Verner was “a fantastic girl,” Neal said in a brief phone interview. “She was loved by everybody. And she had a future.”

Verner graduated from Clawson High School in 2020, said Clawson Public Schools Superintendent Billy Shellenbarger, who mourned her death in a Tuesday email to local families. 

“Alex was and is incredibly loved by everyone,” Shellenbarger wrote. “She was a tremendous student, athlete, leader and exemplified kindness every day of her life.”

Michael Frink, president of Clawson board of education, called Verner “a great athlete, great student and just a great kid.”

Photos provided by Clawson Public Schools showed Verner participating in basketball and volleyball. A teammate said she also played softball. 

Frink told Bridge that Verner was a compassionate person who frequently volunteered “to help kids in need.”

“I hate to say it, because it sounds too good to be true,” he said, “but she really was the perfect kid.”

Ted Verner, Alexandria’s father, told The New York Times the family was “overrun with love and support” after learning that their daughter “was murdered last night at the Michigan State campus.”

A courtesy photo of Alexandria Verner.

Brooke Sarvello, who played basketball with her in Clawson, called Verner a “great teammate” who was “always smiling,” friendly and outgoing.

“She was just a full of life kind of girl,” added Lisa Savello, Brooke’s mother. “She was respectful, kind, beautiful. You couldn’t have asked for a better young lady. She was a very special girl.”

On Facebook, classmates and acquaintances remembered Verner as a cherished friend, a model student and a member of a family with strong ties to the Clawson community.

“Incredible person and even better friend,” wrote Maria Chene. 

“Anyone who knows the Verner family knows how much the whole family has done for the Clawson community,” wrote Lyndsey Eyrn Butler, adding that the kindness of the Verner parents, Nancy and Ted, “was passed down through every child they raised.”

“She was the sweetest, most caring, funniest, smartest, most genuine person I have ever known,” wrote Alliyah Ocampo. “Anytime you were feeling down, Alex was there to make your day better and she would never fail to put a smile on your face. I will always admire how positive and extremely hardworking she was. If anyone would’ve made a change to this world, it would’ve been Alex Verner.”

A courtesy photo of Alexandria Verner.

Monday’s shootings left the Grosse Pointe Public Schools System to mourn two former student. Fraser was a 2021 graduate of Grosse Pointe South High School. 

Superintendent Jon Dean said during a news conference that the district heard the news from students and by 8 a.m. Tuesday, he had arranged a meeting with the crisis team. 

“How is it possible that this happened in the first place, an act of senseless violence that has no place in our society, and in particular, no place in school, but then it touched our community not once, but not twice,” Dean said.

“And now this event that has touched our nation, in fact, is now touching directly our community.”

A courtesy photo of Arielle Anderson.

Dean did not know the students personally, but has had conversations about Anderson and Fraser with the principals at Grosse Pointe North and Grosse Pointe South. 

A courtesy photo of Arielle Anderson.

“These two students, just like all of our students, were these exceptional kids…So, they did those great things at North and South and they will be missed.”

In a statement, the Phi Delta Theta International Fraternity said its members were “devastated” to learn of Fraser’s death. 

“As the leader of his chapter, Brian was a great friend to his Phi Delt brothers, the Greek community at Michigan State, and those he interacted with on campus,” the statement continued.  

“Phi Delta Theta is in close communication with the leadership of the Michigan Beta Chapter to support them during this trying time. The Fraternity is working with Michigan State University to connect the chapter with local campus services and opportunities to appropriately celebrate Brian’s life.”

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