LANSING, Mich. (NewsNation) — Five Michigan State University students remain in critical condition as the community mourns the loss of three students who were killed when a gunman opened fire in two academic buildings on the Lansing campus.
“I was on the phone with my mom, crying … saying, ‘Mom, I’m scared.’” MSU student Chloe Beutler said.
Roommates Chloe and Mia Suchara told NewsNation that they received notifications from Michigan State University Police at 8:32 p.m. Monday, telling them to “run, hide and, if need be, fight.”
“You just don’t think it will happen to you until it does,” Mia said.
Chloe and Mia took cover at their off-campus apartments, where Mia said she went to the basement, closed and locked all the doors and turned off all the lights.
Law enforcement spent hours searching for the suspect, later identified as 43-year-old Anthony Dwayne McRae. It was also later revealed that McRae had no connection to the campus.
“My cousin was in the stadium and I was texting her all night, she was on lockdown at the stadium,” Mia said.
McRae, described as a Black man wearing red shoes, a jean jacket and a baseball cap, was found dead at approximately 11:35 p.m. ET Monday from a self-inflicted gunshot wound off-campus in the city of Lansing hours after the shooting began, Rozman said.
Police said McRae entered Berkey Hall at approximately 8:18 p.m. ET and began shooting. MSU Police Interim Deputy Chief Chris Rozman said officers discovered two deceased MSU students at the Hall, along with injured students who were transported to E.W. Sparrow Hospital.
Police then received reports of a shooting at the student union building, which is adjacent to Berkey Hall. A third victim was found dead at the student union building, Rozman said. Berkey and the student union were the only buildings where shootings occurred.
Former FBI agent and profiler Mary Ellen O’Toole analyzed McRae’s behavior, saying he is what profilers call “injustice collectors,” meaning they never forget something that happened to them in their life, even if it goes back to grade school.
She questioned whether McRae had any ties, “loose though they may be, to the university.” She found it striking that McRae could have gone into and come in contact with those two classes, the classroom and then the social center without having prior experience there.
She said if investigators can connect a tie to the university, then they could possibly discover McRae’s motive to carry out this violent act.
Michigan State University Police identified two of the three victims as sophomore Brian Fraser of Grosse Pointe and junior Alexandria Verner of Clawson.
Dr. Jon Dean, the superintendent of Grosse Pointe North High School, identified the third victim to NewsNation as 2021 graduate Arielle Diamond Anderson.
But now, students said the campus doesn’t feel safe anymore.
“I come here every day. I go to classes,” MSU student Justin Lagman said. “The places where everything happened are the places I find comfort in, and now, it’s a crime scene. I just don’t know how to feel. I’ve been talking to my friend, just trying to find some shelter or some comfort. It’s just scary right now.”
Friends, students and loved ones spread flowers and candles across campus, paying their respect to the students who lost their lives and those who continue to fight in the hospital.
Arielle, a junior at MSU, had dreams of becoming a doctor. Alexandria, also a junior, was described by the superintendent as a “tremendous student, athlete and leader.” Brian, a sophomore and chapter president of Phi Delta Theta, was called “a great friend to his brothers” by his fraternity.
Surviving students also told NewsNation that they are afraid to go home because they are afraid they won’t come back.
The school remained closed on Wednesday but is expected to be back in session on Monday.