Photo byIsaac Quesada
On Monday night, a gunman killed three people and wounded five others at Michigan State University, before leading authorities on a manhunt that ended when he fatally shot himself. The university, located in East Lansing, is home to around 50,000 students. For hours, students and others were sheltered in place on the campus. "This truly has been a nightmare that we are living tonight," said Chris Rozman, interim deputy chief of the Michigan State University Police.
In addition to the three deaths, five people were transported to E.W. Sparrow Hospital in Lansing, where they were in critical condition, Rozman said. The suspected shooter, a 43-year-old man with no affiliation to the university, was found dead with a self-inflicted gunshot wound after a confrontation with law enforcement officials in the adjacent city of Lansing. Rozman said that a motive for the shooting was not known. "We have no idea why he came to campus to do this tonight," he said. The suspect and the victims have not been identified, and police said they were determining whether the victims were students or otherwise affiliated with MSU.
Gunfire was first reported at Berkey Hall at 8:18 p.m., prompting urgent alerts to students and faculty. Shortly after police responded to that academic building, they were called to MSU Union, where another shooting was reported. Of the three people who were killed on campus, two were found at Berkey Hall and one was at the Union, Rozman said. Both buildings had been unlocked and "open to the public," he said.
As officials searched the campus for the shooter, they pleaded with staff and the community to stay away to allow the hundreds of law enforcement officers who had flooded campus to work. Students on campus reported on social media that they were hiding or barricaded as officers fanned out. Three freshman women were in a dining hall when a relative called one of them to tell them there was a shooter. They were told to stay calm but eventually blocked the doors, they said. Eventually, a large group left in a rush. Three students were seen hugging and emotional outside. "Everyone was screaming everyone's names. It was really loud, really hectic," one of them told the station.
Late on Monday, MSU canceled all campus activities, including athletics and classes, for two days. Students and staff members were urged to stay away from campus on Tuesday. Counseling services were expected to be made available to students starting at 9 a.m. Tuesday morning at the East Lansing Hannah Community Center, the university said.
The FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and Michigan State Police said they were sending personnel to MSU to help campus investigators. President Joe Biden spoke to Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Monday evening, a White House official told NBC News. "The FBI and additional federal law enforcement are already on campus to support local and state response efforts underway," the official said. Whitmer said the state was devastated by the violence. "MSU's campus is a special place for so many, and it is now the site of another senseless act of gun violence," she said in a statement on Tuesday. "Parents across Michigan were on pins and needles calling their kids to check in on them and tell them they love them. It doesn't have to be this way. This is a uniquely American problem. Too many of us scan rooms for exits when we enter them. We plan who that last text or call would go to. We should not, we cannot, accept living like this."