Anthony McRae was the 43-year-old suspect from Lansing, Michigan, accused of shooting eight people on the campus of Michigan State University, killing three of them, on February 13, 2023, the Michigan State University Police said.
McRae is also dead, police said. Investigators do not have a motive yet for the shooting, according to police. The victims were all students, police said at a February 14 press conference. The five injured victims remained in critical condition at the time of the press conference, officials said. Police said they plan to release the names of the victims later Tuesday after families are notified.
Michigan State University Interim Deputy Chief Chris Rozman said the shooting began just before 8:30 p.m., with the first call coming from Berkey Hall, an academic building on the northern part of the campus bordering downtown East Lansing.
“Initial calls reported shots fired in that building and there was an absolutely overwhelming police response to that initial call. We had officers in that building within minutes and in that building they encountered several students who were injured,” Rozman said. Two students were killed there.
“While the officers were managing that scene at Berkey Hall, we began receiving other reports of a shooting at the MSU Union building just to the west of Berkey Hall,” Rozman added. “Officers redeployed to that location where we did locate one additional victim.”
According to scanner audio, a person matching the suspect’s description shot himself after authorities made contact with him. In a press conference, Rozman confirmed that the suspect was dead and likely died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound after authorities contacted him off-campus.
The suspect, who also went by the name Anthony D. McRae and Anthony Dwayne McRae, died in the city of Lansing, Rozman said. He had multiple magazines and a second gun in a backpack and died of a gunshot wound to the head, according to scanner audio.
“It is confirmed that he is deceased. This truly has been a nightmare that we are living tonight,” Rozman said. He said police are “relieved” that they no longer have “an active threat” to the campus. According to Rozman, police believe the suspect acted alone.
At the press conference Tuesday morning, Rozman said McRae was found at about 11:35 p.m. in the city of Lansing, adding, “The suspect was located by units that were assisting in looking for that suspect after the shootings. The suspect is deceased due to a self-inflicted gunshot wound.”
Here’s what you need to know about Anthony Dwayne McRae and the Michigan State University shooting:
1. Police Say a Tip From the Public Led Them to Anthony McRae, Who Does Not Appear to Be Affiliated With the Campus or University
Rozma said at the press conference, “We would like to sincerely thank our community for their help. Because of our quick release of the photograph from the campus security cameras and the help from our community, it was a caller’s tip that led law enforcement to that suspect in the city of Lansing. We cannot thank the public and the community and the person who called in that report enough for being observant, for following our messaging and for being vigilant and contacting us immediately.”
According to Rozman’s news conference, police have found no ties between the suspect and university, and they don’t know why he came to campus to commit the shootings.
Authorities set up a perimeter around 128 E. Howe, an address in Lansing that traces to McRae’s father. An officer said on the scanner that an elderly man lived at the home and the officer had been there the week before, although it’s not clear why. Rozman said at the press conference a search warrant had been executed on a residence connected to the suspect. He said he couldn’t comment on what was found at the home.
“We are unsure of any affiliation the suspect had to the university,” Rozman said.
McRae’s father Michael McRae told The Washington Post that Anthony McRae “lied about having a firearm inside their house and firing the gun in his backyard.”
He said he “confronted the son about gunshots he heard in his backyard,” but Anthony McRae told his father the sound was fireworks, according to The Washington Post.
Michael McRae told CNN that his son was “a mama’s boy” who was “totally lost” and grew isolated and “evil angry” when his mother died from a stroke.
In the news conference, Rozman said that authorities are still investigating what type of gun the suspect used. He did not know whether the suspect had a bag or anything else on him.
He said a weapon was recovered, but that officials do not have any other information that can be released about the gun that was used. He did not say how McRae obtained the weapon or whether it was purchased legally, saying that was part of the ongoing investigation. Rozman said the scene where the suspect was found was being considered a crime scene.
“We have absolutely no information right now” on the motive, Rozman said. He said “hundreds” of law enforcement officers responded to active shooting.
At another press conference hours later, Rozman added, “We had that same question last night and we have the same answer this morning. We have absolutely no idea what the motive was at this point. We can confirm that the 43-year-old suspect had no affiliation to the university. He was not a student, faculty, staff, current or previous. So, that’s an unknown right now and that’s what we’re trying to understand, is why this incident occurred. I know everybody wants to know what the motive is. We don’t have an answer right now and that’s the honest truth.”
2. Anthony Dwayne McRae, Whose Family Has Roots in Trenton, New Jersey, Was Carrying a Handgun & Wearing a Blue Mask, According to Scanner Audio
A 2020 obituary for the suspect’s mother, Linda McRae, says the family has roots in Trenton, New Jersey. Property records indicate that McRae lived with his father, Michael McRae.
“She gave her life to Christ at an early age,” the obituary says. “She enjoyed worshipping and talking about the Lord.” She belonged to a Baptist Church in Lansing, Michigan, worked at General Motors and married Michael A. McRae in 1976, according to the obituary.
She had three children, including Anthony D. McRae of Michigan, the obituary indicates. She died at the same Lansing hospital where the victims shot at Michigan State were treated, according to the obituary.
Dispatchers gave a suspect description on the scanner.
An officer described the shooter as “possibly a Black male wearing a mask carrying a handgun” who was “last seen on foot toward the union.” They also said that he was headed to the union cafeteria at one point and was wearing a blue mask.
Rozman said in a news conference that there were two shooting scenes: at Berkey Hall and the student union. The shooting reports broke out at 8:18 p.m., he said. He described the shooter as a Black male wearing red shoes, a jean jacket and a ball cap.
According to initial scanner audio, the shooting reports focused on two classrooms before the gunman moved to the student union. According to Rozman, police quickly sent units to the student union after the suspect fled from Berkey Hall, and the gunman, identified as McRae, was not in that building long. He then fled from the area before being found late Monday night, police said.
3. On Facebook, Anthony McRae, Described as an ‘Oddball’ by His Sister, Shared a Bible Verse That Reads, ‘Nothing Will Harm You’
On an archived version of his now-deleted Facebook profile, McRae’s cover photo was a Bible verse: Luke 10:19.
It reads, “I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.”
The archived version says that McRae was from Trenton, New Jersey, and lived in Lansing. Screenshots show him holding a cross.
A Google cache of his Facebook page reads in part, “Hi my name is Anthony McRae I’m a hermit. Not for religious discipline. … When Americans look at you they just want to see how cool you are.”
McRae lived with his father, Mike McRae, who is known in his Lansing neighborhood as a scrapper, neighbors told The Detroit News. Megan Bender told the newspaper about the suspect’s father, “He’s never done any harm to anyone. He’s just an old man, minds his business.” She said his son had moved into the home about a year ago.
Bender told the newspaper police had been called to McRae’s home because of reports of gunshots in the past, adding that Anthony McRae was known to fire his gun out of the backdoor of the home, possibly for target practice.
The Detroit News wrote, “Based on where Anthony McRae was found, Megan Bender believed he was headed home. She had been listening to the scanner for most of the night and when she heard where police had said the suspect had died and later traffic indicating they were being dispatched to her street, she felt relieved Anthony McRae hadn’t made it back to the neighborhood.”
Melinda McRae, the gunman’s sister, told CNN she was “shocked.” CNN reported that the sister said her brother “had long been socially isolated and clashed with his parents,” although she described the family’s home as “loving.”
She said he was “recently been living isolated in a room at their father’s home,” CNN reported.
“My mom said that Anthony is going to be the death of her,” she told CNN. “He’s always been like the oddball of the family. But he’s been taken care of. My parents took care of us.”
4. Anthony D. McRae Was Convicted on a Weapons Charge in Michigan in 2019
Online court records in Michigan show that McRae had a charge for carrying a concealed weapon in 2019. He was initially charged with a felony, but later took a plea agreement on a lesser charge, records show
According to the Michigan Department of Corrections Offender Tracking Information System, McRae pleaded guilty to possession of a loaded firearm, a misdemeanor, in November 2019 to the gun charge and was sentenced to a maximum of 1 year and 6 months of probation. He was released from supervision on May 14, 2021, DOC records show.
According to Fox 2 Detroit, “In that arrest, he was found walking near an abandoned building in Lansing. He admitted to having a gun and said that he didn’t have a concealed weapons permit. When questioned by police, he said he was walking to the store for cigarettes and feared for his safety so he brought the gun with him.”
He also had multiple traffic citations in Lansing, including driving with a suspended license, according to court records. It was not immediately clear if McRae has any other arrests or convictions on charges in other states where he has lived, including New Jersey and Delaware, or elsewhere in Michigan. His attorney in the Lansing case could not immediately be reached for comment by Heavy.
5. McRae, Who Had a History of Mental Health Issues, Was Found With a Note That Made Threatening Statements About Schools in New Jersey, Police Say
According to a press release from the Ewing Police Department in New Jersey, McRae, “had local ties to Ewing Township. When McRae was found by police in Michigan, he had a note in his pocket that indicated a threat to two Ewing Public Schools. Investigation revealed that McRae had a history of mental health issues.” Police did not provide further details about the threatening statements.
Ewing Police added, “As the investigation continued, and out of an abundance of caution, the Ewing Public Schools were closed for the day. Officers from Ewing and surrounding agencies were stationed at each closed public school as well as the other schools in the township. After further investigation, it has been determined that the incident is isolated to Michigan and there is no threat to Ewing Schools.”
Police added, “Information received during our investigation indicated that McRae had not resided in the Ewing area in several years.” The schools in Ewing will be open as normal on Febraury 15, police said.
At a press conference, Rozman said, “Part of our investigation today is to look at the suspect, his background, his history. Those are things that are occurring with our state and federal partners right now, who have really taken the lead on helping us with identifying the suspect. Especially since that incident did occur off campus. But those are things that we are looking at today and those will be integral to the investigation.”
Rozman said that the state and federal investigators would be looking into whether there was any connection between Michigan State University and the suspect that was not initially found or a possible connection to any of the victims. He said there does not appear to be a connection between McRae and the victims.
FBI Michigan Special Agent in Charge of Jim Tarasca, said at the press conference, “This happens much too often. … The FBI deployed agents, analysts and speciality teams to help in the effort to help the victims and to also find the individual responsible, which occurred thanks to law enforcement. We’ll continue working in the future, hand-in-hand, to mitigate these threats and try to make Michigan as safe a place as we can for our families.”
FBI Detroit tweeted, “The FBI and Michigan State University Department of Police and Public Safety are asking anyone with photos or video surrounding the active shooter incident or the suspect at the Michigan State University campus on February 13, 2023 to submit here: fbi.gov/MSUShooting.”
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