Police say unspecified grudge may have motivated MSU mass shooter ⋆
Law enforcement officials provided additional details during a Thursday morning press conference about the suspect in Monday’s mass shooting at Michigan State University, including information about a possible motive for the attack.
Police say 43-year-old Anthony McRae opened fire in two MSU buildings Monday evening, killing three students — Arielle Anderson, a junior from Grosse Pointe; Brian Fraser; a sophomore from Grosse Pointe; and Alexandria Verner, a junior from Clawson.
Five other students were critically injured, although officials said one had been upgraded as of Thursday morning to stable condition.
Michigan State University Interim President Teresa Woodruff speaks to students and community members on Feb. 15 before attending a candlelight vigil following the mass shooting on campus earlier in the week. (Andrew Roth/)
Interim University President Teresa Woodruff said MSU would be returning to standard operations, although classes won’t resume until Monday.
“Standard operations means that the university offices are open, but in this case, with wide latitude provided to supervisors across our university network,” she said, adding that Berkey Hall would remain closed for the rest of the semester, while the student union was still being evaluated as to when it might reopen.
There is a change.org petition circulating that calls for an online or hybrid class option. It has been signed by almost 13,000 people as of 12:40 p.m. Thursday.
“After the tragic mass shooting on Michigan State University’s campus that occurred February 13th, 2023 students are ill at ease with returning to a campus that is not fully equipped to fulfill their safety concerns,” the petition reads. “It was announced that in person classes will be resumed on February 20th, 2023. However, with such stressing concerns from parents and students on campus safety, returning one week after a mass shooting has left many unsettled.”
Police say that 17 minutes after releasing a photo of McRae, they received a call that led officers to the 800 block of Lake Lansing Road. When they exited their vehicle, the officers reportedly ordered McRae to show his hands, at which point he shot himself with one of the guns. Officers attempted lifesaving measures, but he was declared dead at the scene.
Chris Rozman, deputy chief with Michigan State University Police, confirmed that McRae had two 9mm handguns on his person, as well as eight additional loaded magazines and other ammunition.
“Our investigative team did work with our federal ATF partners to trace those weapons, and we have learned that they were purchased legally by the shooter, but they were not registered,” said Rozman. “We can also confirm that a note was found on the shooter.”
The two-page note listed a series of locations, including a church and a Meijer warehouse where he had previously been employed.
“Through our investigation, we found that he had had contact with some of those places,” said Rozman. “He was an employee of the Meijer warehouse at one time, and a couple of other businesses. It appears that he’d had some issues with the employees there, where he was asked to leave, so it looks like possibly a motive for that was he just felt slighted. And that’s kind of what the note indicated.”
It was previously reported that the note also “indicated a threat” to two public schools in Ewing, N.J., where McRae had past connections.
However, police said there appears to be no definitive connection between McRae and Michigan State University.
Police were also questioned about why it took three hours from the time that the shooting was first reported at 8:18 p.m. at Berkey Hall to the public release of McRae’s photo at 11:18 p.m.
MSU Interim Deputy Police Chief Chris Rozman at a briefing after the MSU mass shooting, Feb. 13, 2023 | Screenshot
“We have thousands of cameras on this campus,” said Rozman. “That system is complex and our investigators immediately began reviewing surveillance footage. It did take them a little bit of time to locate that due to the number and the volume of cameras that we have and we didn’t know what his path was at that point. We didn’t know which door he exited. We didn’t know which route he took.”
Rozman said as soon as they located that image, they immediately pushed it out on social media.
“So while I know people may question the timing, this was an ongoing complex incident and it took a little bit of time to find that image,” he said. “But I commend our investigators that set their rifles down and turned around and started looking at video on the computer to locate those images.”
Officials were also questioned about McRae’s ability to purchase the guns used in the shooting despite being charged in June 2019 in Lansing with carrying a concealed pistol without a concealed carry permit, a felony that carried a potential penalty of five years in prison. However, he was allowed to plead to a lesser misdemeanor charge and avoided jail time.
While prosecutors say McRae would still have avoided jail time if he had been sentenced on the original count, if he had been convicted on the felony charge, he would have been barred from legally purchasing firearms.
“We would all hope that the prosecutor would uphold the law as it’s written,” said Lansing Police Chief Ellery Sosebee. “There’s always room for some type of discrepancy or discretion, however, that one will be scrutinized for a long time, I’m sure.”
authored by Jon King
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