On the Michigan State University campus, a shooter killed three people and injured five others before being challenged by police and dying from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to the authorities.
Four hours after shootings were reported at Berkey Hall and the MSU Union, two well-known locations for eating and studying, Michigan State Institution Interim Deputy Police Chief Chris Rozman said that the suspect was located off the campus of the East Lansing university.
Police confronted the 43-year-old guy outside of campus before he killed himself with a “self-inflicted gunshot wound,” according to Rozman. His identity was not immediately made public, but Rozman claimed he had no connection to Michigan State and was neither a student nor an employee.
However, Rozman said, “we have remained laser-focused on the safety of our school, our students, and the surrounding neighborhood. This truly has been a nightmare that we are living tonight.
Motive in Michigan State shooting under investigation
Rozman, the interim deputy police chief, said authorities are investigating why the suspect opened fire at the school.
“We have no idea why he came to campus to do this tonight,” he said.
5 injured shooting victims hospitalized
Michigan State University police said the five victims injured in the shootings were transported to the E.W. Sparrow Hospital in Lansing.
In an update early Tuesday, Rozman said the five victims remained in critical condition.
Calls rang in from Berkey Hall, then MSU Union
Around 8:18 p.m., Berkey Hall on the East Lansing campus received many calls from people reporting seeing shots fired, according to Rozman. A second shooting that in “near proximity” to the Michigan State University Union was then swiftly attended to the police.
At both of those scenes, Rozman said, “we attended to the victims, and there was an overwhelming law police reaction to campus.”
According to university police, numerous sites on campus have been emptied and secured as of 10:18 p.m. Brody Hall, Snyder/Phillips Hall, Mason Hall, Abbot Hall, Landon Hall, the MSU Union, and Berkey Hall were some of the locations.
According to Rozman, hundreds of police officers from regional, national, and municipal organizations responded to the shooting “in a coordinated effort.”
Parents say their daughter escaped through a window
Outside Snyder Hall after 9 p.m., Mike and Natalie Papoulias said they sped in their vehicle to the Michigan State University campus from Jackson, Michigan, after receiving a call from their daughter. She reported being in class in Berkey Hall and hearing gunshots.
She told them some students busted out a window and she jumped out, they believe, from the first-floor room.
Their daughter, who they said is a sophomore studying psychology, made it back to her residence hall and was in lockdown Monday night. They hadn’t seen her, but they were texting each other.
Her text: “I heard somebody get shot, mom. It’s terrifying. I could smell the gunpowder.”
— Paul Egan and Darcie Moran, Detroit Free Press
Kayal Ghassan, a 19-year-old fisheries and wildlife student, also was eating at Akers when word of the shooting spread, he said. He noticed other students began crowding at the doors.
Students were worried, and panicking, he said. Many were calling their families. “Everyone was running in fear,” he said. “I saw people climbing over other people,”
Ghassan and others ran to a nearby parking lot, where police immediately asked if they saw the suspect and knew what he looked like.
“I was fearing for my life, honestly. I’ve never experienced something like this,” he said.
— Paul Egan and Andrea Sahouri, Detroit Free Press
Ben Finkelstein, a senior, said he was sheltering in place in his room.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been this scared,” he said. “I’ve been listening to the police scanner for an hour.”
Finkelstein said he was hiding under a pile of dirty laundry in his first-floor room. He closed all of his blinds and turned off his lights.
“It’s far too late for this to be called a wake-up call,” he said. “The sad truth is I doubt we’re going to be the last. Other than that, I’m praying for everybody.”
Aedan Kelley, a junior who lives a half-mile east of campus, said he locked his doors and covered his windows “just in case.” Sirens were constant, he said, and a helicopter hovered overhead.
“It’s all very frightening,” Kelley said. “And then I have all these people texting me wondering if I’m OK, which is overwhelming.”
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said she was briefed on the situation on Monday and asked that arms be wrapped around the Spartan community.
After news of the lives lost and the suspect’s death was shared, Whitmer released a statement calling her alma mater a special place turned into a site of senseless gun violence.
“Parents across Michigan were on pins and needles calling their kids to check in on them and tell them they love them,” Whitmer said. “Certain places are supposed to be about community, learning, or joy—elementary schools and college campuses, movie theaters and dance halls, grocery stores and workplaces. They should not be the sites of bloodshed.”
She added: “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. “
Of the Spartans, she added that they’d cry, hold each other a little closer, mourn “the loss of beautiful souls” and pray for those injured.
The East Lansing High School auditorium, where a school board meeting was being held Monday night, was locked down and people were prevented by school officials from leaving for a time. East Lansing Public Schools later canceled classes Tuesday.
The shooting at Michigan State is the latest in what has become a deadly new year in the U.S. Dozens of people have died in mass shootings so far in 2023, most notably in Monterey Park, California, where 11 people were killed as they welcomed the Lunar New Year at a popular dance hall.