EAST LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — The three students killed in Monday night’s deadly shooting on Michigan State University’s campus were all from the southeastern part of the state.
Michigan State University Department of Police and Public Safety identified the three victims as Arielle Anderson, a junior from Grosse Pointe, Brian Fraser, a sophomore from Grosse Pointe, and Alexandria Verner, a junior from Clawson.
Grosse Pointe Schools Superintendent M. Jon Dean was in disbelief.
“I’ve had a parent reach out to me and say, ‘Jon, this has to be wrong…’ I said, ‘I wish it was wrong. I wish I could write you this letter and say this was a mistake, it didn’t happen,'” he said. “I’ll be honest with you. I thought somebody crossed their wires. We’ve got two high schools in a small community.”
Anderson’s family released a statement saying she was passionate about helping her friends and family and service to others. They said she dreamed of being a surgeon and was working toward completing her undergraduate studies early to make that happen.
“She means the world to us. As much as we loved her, she loved us and others even more. She was passionate about helping her friends and family, assisting children and serving people,” the statement read. “As an Angel here on Earth, Arielle was sweet and loving with an infectious smile that was very contagious.”
“We are absolutely devastated by this heinous act of violence upon her and many other innocent victims,” the statement continued.
The family added it was appreciative of the outpouring of support it had seen.
Fraser was the president of MSU’s Phi Delta Theta chapter, according to the fraternity’s Facebook page. The fraternity says Brian was a great friend to his brothers, the Greek community and everyone he met on campus.
Clawson school district’s superintendent said Verner exemplified kindness every day of her life and had a lasting impact on everyone in the district.
During a Tuesday morning news conference, MSU Police Interim Deputy Chief Chris Rozman confirmed all the victims were students.
According to Dr. Denny Martin with Sparrow Hospital, all five of the students who were hospitalized remained in critical condition as of early Tuesday afternoon. Four of them required surgery. The one who didn’t need surgery was alert and “interacting with the care team in the ICU.”
“Which has been really uplifting for everyone to see there,” Martin added.
Martin said the surgeries were performed by trauma, general, cardiothoracic and neurosurgeons.
“The injuries were varied,” he said, though he would not provide specifics.
Martin said the hospital trains for situations with many casualties and said that teams could not have done better in following their response.
“It’s very real,” Martin said. “I’m an MSU grad. A lot of caregivers here have students there as children, so we were trying to care for those injured but a lot of individuals that trying to find out where their kids were. So that made it very emotional just being so close to home.”
Earlier, a hospital spokesperson praised the commitment of doctors and nurses.
“It’s a horrible tragedy. I can tell you that our caregivers have just been incredible. We had so many caregivers who were home, not at work, who called in or came in wanting to help,” spokesman John Foren said.
He said there were so many helpers that a lot were sent home.
Martin said the hospital would provide mental health resources for its caregivers.
The suspect was identified as 43-year-old Anthony McRae, according to MSU police. He died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound when confronted by police in Lansing, miles from campus, around 11:30 p.m. Monday. The motive remains under investigation.
The Associated Press reports that investigators found a note in McRae’s pocket that contained threats against two schools in Ewing Township, New Jersey, located near Trenton. The schools were closed Tuesday, but plan to reopen Wednesday. McRae lived in the area years ago, according to AP.
MSU Interim President Teresa Woodruff said classes are canceled for the remainder of the week and will resume Monday. Grief resources are available for anyone who needs them at the East Lansing Hannah Community Center at 819 Abbot Road.
Police were also working to get property back to students who left things behind in Berkey Hall and the MSU Union, where the shooting happened.
During Tuesday’s news conference, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said she spoke with President Joe Biden Monday night, saying he pledged his support.
“We must act, and we will, but today let’s hold the MSU and East Lansing communities close. Let’s think of the families and friends of those who have lost, those fighting for their lives and the countless Michiganders whose lives are forever changed by (Monday’s) shooting. We will get through this together, and we will do it with the full support of the state of Michigan and the U.S. federal government,” Whitmer said.
“This morning, the Board talked with families who lost their children due to senseless violence our community is suffering. We are devastated with them and for them. Please hold space with the entire Spartan community as we navigate the weeks ahead. We will get through this difficult time by healing together.
“Take care of yourselves and one another. Please seek out support in our community if you need it.”Michigan State University Board of Trustees
MSU PROFESSOR: ‘WE HAVE TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT THE GUNS’
An MSU social sciences professor said the shooting is one more example of a systemic problem in America.
“I’m feeling a lot of things,” Frederick Engram, a professor of integrative studies in social science, told News 8 early Tuesday. “Distraught, confused, concerned, rage. Because this is not the first time we’ve seen this happen.”
He said each time the nation faces a mass shooting, the reaction seems the same: grief in the media for a few days and then a change in the conversation about what causes them.
“How do we begin this conversation? What do we say to our students?” Eagram said. “(The) majority of the students who are at Michigan State University now are Generation Z. So these students grew up with Sandy Hook. These students grew up with Parkland. These students grew up with mass shootings as a regular occurrence in their development. So how do we address the conversation? How do we make them feel safe when we ourselves don’t feel safe?”
Eagram said a larger conversation about guns and their place in our society must be had, and it must be with politicians.
“If we don’t have that larger conversation, these instances are going to continue,” he said. “Parents don’t send their children to school to be shot.”
He said people shouldn’t let their lives go on as if mass shootings are normal.
“All of this is life-changing,” he said. “Someone’s life, someone’s family’s life will forever be different after what happened today. That’s the focus that we must have: That this cannot be something that just goes away in the next news cycle. We have to keep the pressure on because we have to do something about the guns.”
STUDENT HID IN CRAWL SPACE
The shooting happened at two buildings on MSU’s East Lansing campus, with the first report of shots fired just before 8:20 p.m. Monday. Eagram wasn’t on campus at the time but said his office is in Berkey Hall, where the first shots were fired. The other shots were at the MSU Union. Both buildings are open to the public.
Madison Adamini, an MSU student, was at work on campus when the shooting happened. When she got the alert from campus police to shelter in place, she saw a rush of about 30 people trying to get away.
“As we were looking around seeing who was in the building, a stampede of people came from the front of the building, past the office out the back doors,” she recalled.
Adamini ultimately hid with about 10 other people in a crawl space in the basement of Brody Hall.
“So we were 20 feet underground for three and a half hours,” she said.
She said she managed to keep her cool, but others were hysterical.
“A lot of people were crying and calling and stuff and everyone was worried their phone batteries were going to die down there. It’s kind of dark and scary,” she said.
Other workers who were already outside were texting them, passing along the latest information they were getting and sending photos. At one point, they heard Brody had been cleared, so they left the crawl space.
“Then we heard some stuff, went back into the crawl space and some of our other employees texted us saying what they heard, too,” Adamini said.
“Everybody was kind of taking turns (making phone calls). The service was really bad down there and we had one portable charger that everyone was sharing to keep their phones on,” Adamini recalled. “I was talking about Virginia Tech. My partner is from Virginia, and she said she didn’t think she could go there because of what had happened there. But we both went to MSU, so now we’re the same as all those other schools.”
About four hours after the first shots, McRae, who had with no affiliation to the university, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound when confronted by police in Lansing, miles from campus.
“We don’t know why (the shooting happened) based on what has been shared publicly,” Eagram said.
He said he checked in with his teaching assistants and some students. All were OK.
—News 8’s Byron Tollefson, Mara Peverini and Susan Samples contributed to this report.