Michigan State shooting live updates: Clashing gun messages

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EAST LANSING, Mich. – It took less than 48 hours for the Michigan State University shooting to get embroiled in the nation’s polarized debate about guns, as the site of a Wednesday vigil became the object of clashing messages on the subject.

By night, though, the focus was back where it belonged — on the three slain students and the five hospitalized with critical wounds. 

A symbolic rock at the the university, where mourners gathered in the evening to pay tribute to the victims, has been serving as an impromptu memorial and at first featured the words, “How many more?” and “Stay Safe MSU.”

Overnight that was painted over with the pro-gun sign, “Allow us to defend ourselves & carry on campus.” 

By 9 a.m. Wednesday, the new message on the Rock — long a spot for free expression on campus — had been changed to, “To those we lost, to those healing, Brian, Arielle, Alexandria.” Those were the first names of the students killed in Monday night’s attack by a gunman.

The names were also part of yet another repainting — this one requested by the university, according to a tweet by local reporter Rachel Louise Just — depicting the MSU logo along with the words, “Always a Spartan.”

That feeling was prevalent Wednesday night as thousands of students, university employees and alumni — among them Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Spartans men’s basketball coach Tom Izzo — joined in mourning.

A somber silence from the crowd spoke louder than any words uttered, though Whitmer — a Michigan State alumnus — captured the gathering’s mood when she said: “We really, really love this place. You can see it in how we treat each other. That’s what makes this week so hard.

“Let’s make sure tomorrow is better,” she said in conclusion. “I love you.”


  • All five students wounded in the attack remain in critical condition, campus police said Wednesday.
  • The University of Michigan said it will hold a vigil Wednesday evening in support of the Michigan State University community and some of the Wolverines’ athletes will wear helmet decals with the Spartans logo as a tribute to the victims.

‘OUR SPARTAN HEARTS ARE BROKEN:3 students killed are ID’d. Updates.

MSU students rally at state Capitol, express anger over gun violence 

About 100 Michigan State students joined community members Wednesday at the state Capitol in Lansing demanding to be heard after the latest mass shooting at a place of learning.

Sitting on the Capitol steps during a rally, several of those in attendance held signs expressing their anger and frustration — some in profane terms — about the profusion of gun deaths across the country.

“Our blood, your hands,” said some of the signs. “(Expletive) your thoughts and prayers,” said another.

“Look at these students right here and understand their pain before you act like you understand us,” rally organizer and MSU junior Maya Manuel told lawmakers. “Please take a moment to sit with us and to listen to us and to be with us because you won’t be us.”

U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin, a Michigan Democrat, said on CNN that politicians who refuse to confront the issue of gun violence are out of touch.

“They haven’t realized that from Oxford and Uvalde and now this, the average gun owner in Michigan, the average person who feels strongly about their Second Amendment rights, also feels strongly about keeping their babies safe in school,” she said.

Current and former Michigan State students and their supporters attend a rally outside the state Capitol on Wednesday, two days after a gunman killed three students and critically wounded five others in a shooting spree.

Students share their stories: ‘A lot of people don’t feel safe anymore’ 

Some Michigan State students returned Wednesday to claim their belongings from the student union, which they had fled in a hurry Monday night upon learning a gunman had opened fire there. 

Matias Jimenez, 21, said he hid behind columns before racing out of the building and into the dorm room of a stranger, where they sheltered for hours. Jimenez said he grew up near campus and has relatives who work at MSU, so it will be difficult not to worry about them constantly now. 

His friend and fellow triathlete Connor Dunn found it hard to go back into the building, typically a relaxed hangout but now the place where many were retrieving cell phones full of anguished messages from relatives trying to ascertain they were safe.

He figures some students will struggle to return to the classrooms when classes resume next week.

“It’s going to be hard for a lot of people,” Dunn said, “especially those in a worse position than me. Some did see the shooter. I was lucky enough where I didn’t see that visual. But I know a lot of people don’t feel safe anymore.”

— Mike Ellis, Lansing State Journal

No clear indication what prompted rampage

Two days after a gunman’s rampage left three students dead on the MSU campus,  investigators were still hunting Wednesday for an answer to one question: Why?

The shooter, who lived in Lansing and had no known ties to the university, died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound when confronted by police about three hours after his attack Monday night, authorities said. A tip had led police to the killer just 17 minutes after photos from surveillance video were released to the public.

Anthony McRae, 43, lived the past two years with his father at the end of a quiet street of older homes in Lansing’s north end, neighbors said.

“We have absolutely no idea what the motive was,” Chris Rozman, MSU’s interim deputy police chief, said Tuesday.

MSU student from near Sandy Hook: ‘We can no longer be complacent’

Alerts urging Michigan State students to “run, hide, fight” sent them fleeing into the night in the minutes after the shooting started Monday. The chaos brought back memories of the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy for Jaqueline Matthews. She crouched for so long at a nearby middle school when gunfire erupted at Sandy Hook a decade ago that her back was permanently injured. On Monday, the 21-year-old international law major and member of the Michigan State rowing team watched mayhem unfold again, this time from her campus window.

“The fact that this is the second mass shooting that I have now lived through is incomprehensible,” she said in a TikTok video. “We can no longer be complacent.”

Another MSU student is also experiencing a horrible case of deja vu. Jennifer Mancini told the Detroit Free Press that her daughter survived the November 2021 shooting that left four students dead at Oxford High School in southeastern Michigan. She’s now a freshman going through a similar trauma.

“I can’t believe this is happening again,” said Mancini, who didn’t want her daughter’s name used.

Three bouquets for three Michigan State shooting victims

MSU senior Julia Wallace placed three bouquets of flowers at the feet of the school’s Sparty statue. Wallace was at Bessey Hall on Monday in a club meeting, talking to an alumni panel on a video conference, when an alert about the shooting came across the screen.

“Once it was announced, I was like, ‘Oh … I need to get out of here.’ Then we all awkwardly got up,” she said. “Do we hide? I was like, ‘I’m not going to sit here and be a sitting duck, that’s the last thing I’m going to do.'”

She said everyone got up and calmly walked out of the building – then sprinted to their cars and “booked it home.”

“For some reason that was the first thought on my mind this morning – to go show my community that I’m impacted and that I feel for others,” she said. “I kind of didn’t think, I just did. I got the three (bouquets) for the three lives lost because it’s just horrible.”

Michigan lawmakers put gun violence back on state agenda

Democratic lawmakers responding to the MSU shooting say they will introduce state legislation to address gun violence that stalled in the past. While they provided a general outline of bills they plan to put forward, exact details on the forthcoming proposals and their timing remain unclear.

Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer last month proposed universal background checks, extreme risk protection orders to keep guns away from those deemed a danger to themselves or others and safe storage requirements. Senate Majority Leader Winnie Brinks, a Democrat, on Tuesday called the proposals “common sense” measures that enjoy public support – and that other proposals are likely. Read more here.

– Clara Hendrickson, Detroit Free Press

Student hid in car for three hours

Ted Zimbo, a 26-year-old astrophysics major, said he was heading back to his residence hall after an off-campus meeting when he saw police cars everywhere and a blood-covered woman hiding behind a car. She told him that someone came into her classroom and started shooting.

“Her hands were completely covered in blood. It was on her pants and her shoes,” he told The Associated Press. “She said, ‘It’s my friend’s blood.’”

That, he said, is when it hit him: “There was a real shooting, a mass shooting.”

The woman picked up her phone and started crying, unsure of what happened to her friend. Zimbo spent the next three hours hunkered down in his Toyota SUV, a blanket tossed over him.

MOURNING THE MICHIGAN STATE SHOOTING VICTIMS:An aspiring pediatrician. ‘Phenomenal daughter.’ Beloved ‘leader’

The students who died were from the Detroit area

University police identified the three dead students as sophomores Arielle Anderson and Brian Fraser and junior Alexandria Verner. Fraser was a fraternity chapter president. Verner was a science student with fond memories of her days as a high-school athlete. Anderson was a frequent volunteer who wanted to become a pediatrician. All were from the Detroit area. Read more here.

“It’s just a senseless, unspeakable tragedy that’s impacting the Michigan State community, impacting the Grosse Pointe community and it’s just, it’s horrific,” Grosse Pointe Superintendent Jon Dean said.

Shooter had history of mental health problems

A clearer picture began to emerge Tuesday about the 43-year-old shooter. Anthony Dwayne McRae served 18 months’ probation after pleading guilty to a gun-related charge in 2019. Police had found him with a Ruger LCP .380 semi-automatic pistol in his pants pocket and a loaded magazine in his breast pocket despite not having a concealed weapons permit, according to court records.

McRae was originally charged with a felony, and a conviction would have prevented him from legally owning a gun in the future. But McRae agreed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor, a charge that did not bar his ability to buy a firearm after he successfully completed probation.

Authorities said McRae had a history of mental health struggles, and relatives described him as secluded. Neighbors and family members told the Detroit Free Press he fired a gun dangerously in his backyard.

Police said McRae shot and killed himself after they confronted him in an industrial area about 5 miles from campus following a three-hour manhunt.

Contributing: Bryce Airgood and Mike Ellis, Lansing State Journal; Kristen Jordan Shamus, Detroit Free Press; The Associated Press

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