Tragedy strikes Michigan State University

Sylvia Kline, Editor

Last Monday, shortly before 8:30 p.m., a gunman entered Michigan State University’s (MSU) campus and first fired shots at Berkey Hall, killing two individuals and injuring several others. The gunman then continued to the student union where he killed another individual and injured others. An emergency alert was sent out to all MSU students urging them to “Secure in place immediately. Run. Hide. Fight.”  

While students were hiding, sending messages to relatives and experiencing feelings of panic, local authorities launched a manhunt for the suspect who was eventually found at 11:30 p.m. off campus, dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The gunman was identified as 43-year-old Anthony McRae, who had no evident ties to the university. 

According to the Michigan Department of Police and Safety, the three fatalities of the shooting were identified as MSU students; sophomore Brian Fraser and juniors Arielle Anderson and Alexandria Verner.

Fraser was studying business at MSU and served as the president of the Michigan Chapter of Phi Delta Theta. In a statement following his death, the fraternity states, “Brian was our leader, and we loved him.” 

Anderson aspired to become a doctor, and was working diligently towards graduating early, she was widely regarded as a “remarkable student.” Her aunt stated, “No parent should have to bury their children.” Anderson’s family told the university’s student newspaper that they are remembering her smile and hardworking nature.

Verner was studying biology and positively impacted the lives of many individuals in her hometown. A friend of the Verner family wrote, “Her kindness was on display every single second you were around her.” 

Five other students were wounded, and are being treated at the Lansing Sparrow Hospital. Though the police are not identifying the five hospitalized victims, the families of three victims have publicly identified their loved ones as Guadalupe Huapilla-Perez, John Hao and Nate Statly. As of Feb. 23, one victim has been released from Sparrow Hospital, while two victims remain in stable condition, one remains in fair condition and one remains in critical condition. Resources needed to donate to the victims families, memorials and the other students injured, can be found here.

Michigan families are familiar with tragedy, as they are facing their second school shooting within 15 months, which has revived impassioned political debates regarding gun control. 

A staggering tweet from user Emma Riddle (@egraderidd) states, “14 months ago I had to evacuate from Oxford High School when a fifteen year old opened fire and killed four of my classmates and injured seven more.Tonight, I am sitting under my desk at Michigan State University, once again texting everyone ‘I love you.’ When will this end?”

United States Representative, Elissa Slotkin stated in the Tuesday media briefing, “The most haunting picture of last night was watching the cameras pan through the crowds and seeing a young person wearing an ‘Oxford Strong’ sweatshirt.” Slotkin represents Michigan’s 7th Congressional district, which includes East Lansing, Lansing and Oxford. She stated, “If this is not a wakeup call to do something, I don’t know what is.”

Additionally, Governor Gretchen Whitmer has met with the families of the victims and attended the victims’ vigil held on Feb. 15, stating, “We also recognize that gun violence is a uniquely American problem. Too many places in our nation that are supposed to be about learning and community and joy have been shattered by bullets and stained by bloodshed.”

Whitmer reassured the Spartan community, stating, “I will do everything in my power to make sure that those we’ve lost are not numbers or stories to be forgotten in a week or month from now. We are in a unique position to take action to save lives, and that is exactly what we are going to do.” 

Efforts continue to honor the victims and provide support for all of Michigan’s Spartans. On Feb. 19, Spartan Sunday was held to spread support and love to all MSU students, and provided students with self-care items, counseling services, food, positivity, flowers and immense support and comfort.

Fenton and FHS families are not without ties to the tragedy. Approximately 28 graduates of the FHS Class of 2022 currently attend MSU as well as students from previous graduating classes.

FHS graduate and MSU student Bree Soule stated, “There has been an overwhelming amount of support funneling in for our students.”

MSU brought students and faculty back on campus on Mon. Feb 20, exactly one week after the shooting.

“I think it’s a little soon to expect us all to return,” Soule stated, “but the professors here for the most part have done a great job at taking that into consideration and adjusting our schedules to give us a slow return back so that we don’t feel overwhelmed.”

For crisis support and additional services, click here