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A student and teacher describe moments during MSU shooting

Officers arrived to find several people with gunshot wounds and two dead. Minutes later, shots were heard elsewhere on campus.
Posted at 7:39 AM, Feb 15, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-15 07:39:49-05

A gunman opened fire Monday night at Michigan State University, killing three people and wounding five others.    

"Nobody knew like what was going on, at first, you know, everything was kind of up in the air — confusing, very disorganized," said Ryan Kunkel, a Michigan State University student. "And it got to the point where my lab assistant, the guy running the lab, was like, 'all right, we're going to lock it down, shut off the lights, lock the door, put the curtains down.' And he's like, 'All right, everyone be quiet and sit down and just kind of wait for further information.'" 

Video showed students running in distress as panic and anxiety spread through campus. The shooting sent police on a four-hour manhunt. 

Angela Hall is a professor at Michigan State. She described how she and her students sheltered inside the classroom. 

"Unfortunately, our classroom had no locks. We were terrified," Hall said.  

"Hey guys, we need you guys to go back to your dorms and shelter in place. Go back to your dorms and shelter in place," said Michigan State University police at the time, ordering everyone to seek shelter. 

 Agents searched the massive 5,000-acre campus, while thousands of students and staff hid in classrooms, the library and bathrooms. 

"The toughest thing was not knowing," Kunkel said. "I didn't know what was true or what valid information I was getting. And I was definitely terrified because I've heard reports that there is stuff going on, you know, close to me and people that I knew that were on campus at that time. So that's just, you know, scary for me and other people that I know."  

Local law enforcement said the first shots were reported shortly before 8:30 p.m. 

People made desperate calls from inside Berkey Hall.  

"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," said Chris Rozman, interim deputy chief of the Michigan State University Police Department.   

Officers arrived to find several people with gunshot wounds and two dead. Minutes later, shots were fired at a second location, this time at the MSU student union building.  One student was found dead at the union.

 MSU police said both buildings are open and unlocked to the public.  

About three hours after the first reported shots, law enforcement released pictures of the suspect taken by surveillance cameras.  At 11:35 p.m., law enforcement located the suspect in the city of Lansing, thanks to a tip from a witness.

Police say he shot and killed himself. He was later identified as 43-year-old Anthony Dwayne McRae. McRae had a previous gun violation and was on probation for 18 months until May 2021 for possessing a loaded, concealed gun without a permit.  

"We're all broken by an all too familiar feeling," Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said. "Another place that is supposed to be about community and togetherness shattered by bullets — and shouldn't. We know this is a uniquely American problem. Today is the 5th anniversary of the Parkland shooting. We're mere weeks past Lunar New Year shooting [at] a dance hall. And a few months past a shooting at elementary school in Uvalde. Looking back [at] a year marked by shootings at grocery stores, parades and so many other ordinary everyday situations. We can not keep living like this," 

This comes a little more than a year after a mass shooting at a high school in Oakland County, Michigan, about 80 miles east of East Lansing. A 15-year-old student opened fire with a semi-automatic pistol, killing four students and injuring six more and a teacher.