Authorities seek motive to Michigan State University shooting

Authorities seek motive to Michigan State University shooting

Updated: 1 month, 15 days, 2 hours, 1 minute, 23 seconds ago

By Dieu-Nalio Chery

EAST LANSING, Mich. (Reuters) – Police searched on Tuesday for the motive that caused a gunman to go on a shooting rampage at Michigan State University that left three people dead and five injured before an hours-long manhunt ended with the suspect’s death.

The 43-year-old gunman had no known affiliation to the university police said at a news briefing on Tuesday, more than five hours after the violence began on the East Lansing campus, about 90 miles northwest of Detroit.

“We have no idea why he came to campus to do this tonight,” Chris Rozman, interim deputy chief of the university police, told reporters.

Details about the sequence of events remained sketchy, but Rozman said shots were fired in two locations – an academic building called Berkey Hall and the Michigan State University (MSU) Union building.

Police swarming the campus in response to the shooting, which began shortly after 8 p.m. (0100 GMT), found victims at both locations, Rozman told reporters.

Rozman said the university was not aware of any threats made to the campus before Monday’s bloodshed.

Three victims were killed and five were taken to a hospital in the nearby city of Lansing, the state capital, all of them listed in critical condition, he said. Two of the dead were at Berkey Hall and the other at the MSU Union.

Officials declined to provide any details about the victims, some of whose identities and relationship to the university were still being determined, Rozman said.

The name and other information about the suspect were not immediately released and police said they were baffled by what precipitated the shooting.

The gunman was confirmed dead, from an apparently self-inflicted gunshot roughly four hours after the bloodshed had started, Rozman said.

Rozman also said the suspect “was contacted by law enforcement off campus” at one point, adding, “that scene is being investigated as a crime scene.”

It remained unclear whether the gunman was found dead after he was confronted by police, or whether he may have taken his own life during such a encounter.

About an hour earlier, MSU police had released two still images of the suspect from surveillance video that showed him walking into a building, then mounting a short flight of stairs, wearing a jacket, a baseball cap and a black mask over his lower face. He was holding what appeared to be a pistol in one hand.

Students, faculty and residents in surrounding off-campus neighborhoods of East Lansing had been told by authorities to “shelter in place” during the manhunt. That advisory was lifted once the suspect’s death was confirmed.

Local television news footage taken during the door-to-door search showed students filing past heavily armed police outside campus buildings in the cold night air, their arms raised above their heads in an “active shooter” evacuation ritual that has become commonplace on U.S. school campuses.

MSU officials said Monday night that all classes and school activities would be canceled for 48 hours at the university’s flagship East Lansing campus, a public academic center with some 50,000 students, mostly undergraduates.

“We will take two days…to give ourselves time to think and to grieve and to be together,” MSU president Teresa Woodruff said early Tuesday.

(Reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Chicago, Editing by Angus MacSwan)