Michigan State University Mourning the Loss of Three Students

On February 13, 2021, a shooting at two Michigan State University buildings left three students dead and five others injured.[0] The gunman, later identified as 43-year-old Anthony McRae, was confronted by police and died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.[1] The three victims have since been identified as Brian Fraser, a sophomore from Grosse Pointe; Alexandria Verner, a junior from Clawson; and Arielle Anderson, a junior also from Grosse Pointe.[2]

McRae had a history of mental health issues and was charged with multiple gun-related crimes in 2019.[3] He was arrested in Lansing and charged with carrying a concealed pistol without a permit in June 2019.[1] He pleaded guilty to possession of a loaded firearm in or upon a vehicle, a misdemeanor, and was sentenced to probation.[4]

The Michigan State University Department of Police and Public Safety released a statement expressing sadness over the tragedy and assuring the community that a comprehensive and thorough investigation would be conducted. In response to the shooting, the Michigan State University community has held multiple vigils, including one at the Rock, a popular gathering spot at the university.[5] The Rock was originally painted with a pro-gun message, but was repainted with the names of the three victims.

The shooting stirred up painful memories for many Michiganders, as it occurred just fifteen months after four students were fatally shot and seven others were injured at Oxford High School outside of Detroit.[4] At Michigan State University, some survivors of the Oxford shooting, as well as one survivor of the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting, were on campus Monday.[4]

Michigan State University’s Interim President Teresa Woodruff and the chair of the university's Board of Trustees, Rema Vassar, are expected to attend a vigil at the Rock Wednesday at 6 p.m. The Spartan community continues to mourn the loss of the three students, and their families have expressed grief over the tragedy.[5] April Davis, Anderson's maternal grandmother, said that Anderson was “kind, loving, caring, compassionate, driven,” and “very family oriented.”[2]

This heartbreaking tragedy has shocked the Michigan State University community, and has demonstrated the need for greater gun control and mental health awareness.

0. “Michigan State University attacker lied about gun in room, dad says” BBC, 15 Feb. 2023, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-64644992

1. “MSU shooter Anthony McRae's past shows warning signs” Detroit News, 14 Feb. 2023, https://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/michigan/2023/02/14/michigan-state-university-msu-shooter-anthony-mcrae-gun-conviction-with-weapons-history/69901983007

2. “Michigan State shooting victims identified as Alexandria Verner, Brian Fraser, Arielle Anderson” CBS News, 14 Feb. 2023, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/msu-shooting-victims-brian-fraser-alexandria-verner-arielle-anderson-michigan-state-university

3. “‘He'd be in jail': MSP Lt. Shaw argues existing laws could have prevented shooting Michigan State shooting” FOX 2 Detroit, 15 Feb. 2023, https://www.fox2detroit.com/news/hed-be-in-jail-msp-lt-shaw-argues-existing-laws-could-have-prevented-shooting-michigan-state-shooting

4. “Republicans blocked gun reform laws a year before Michigan State shooting” The Guardian US, 15 Feb. 2023, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2023/feb/15/michigan-state-shooting-republicans-blocked-gun-reform-laws

5. “MSU Campus to remember the lives lost and recognize first responders” WILX, 15 Feb. 2023, https://www.wilx.com/2023/02/15/msu-campus-remember-lives-lost-recognize-first-responders/