The Michigan shooter may have felt “offended,” police say

By Brendan O’Brien

(Reuters) – The gunman who killed three students at Michigan State University and injured five others was carrying a note listing places where he may have felt offended, police said on Thursday and suggested a possible motive behind the shooting.

Discussing the note during a briefing, authorities stressed they were still unsure what prompted Anthony Dwayne McRae to open fire in two buildings on the school’s main campus Monday night and kill himself hours later after the police tracked him down. Police did not say if the university was one of the locations mentioned in the note.

McRae, 43, had no known connection to the university in East Lansing, about 90 miles northwest of Detroit. Authorities say they are trying to determine if mental illness played a role in the killing spree.

“Obviously that’s something we’re going to look at. In hindsight, it’s very difficult to assess what mental illness someone has without some sort of prior diagnosis,” said Chris Rozman, Michigan State’s acting deputy police chief.

“Obviously, in this case, there seems to be some evidence that that might be the case.”

McRae’s father, Michael McRae, said his son is a loner who appears to have no friends and has spent most of his time in his room at the home they shared in the adjacent town of Lansing, police said.

Authorities found two pages of notes about Anthony Dwayne McRae, which listed two New Jersey public schools and the names of a warehouse where he worked, a church and other places where he appeared to have felt offended. Two bus tickets were also found.

“So it looks like a possible motive for that — he just felt offended — and that’s what we’re dealing with,” Michigan State Police Lt. Rene Gonzalez said.

On Monday night, McRae entered Berkey Hall, an academic building on Michigan State’s north campus, and began filming, authorities said. He then fled to another building and opened fire before police arrived.

Three students – a 20-year-old man, a 20-year-old woman and a 19-year-old woman – were killed. The five hospitalized students were improving but were still in critical condition as of Thursday morning, Rozman said.

Authorities would not release the names of the wounded out of respect for their families, he said.

The life of the wounded victim may have been saved by fellow students who provided assistance during the mass shooting, said university police chief Marlon Lynch.

After the shooting, a search was conducted for the suspect, who police found about four miles from campus three hours later. The suspect appeared to be just walking home when officers tried to apprehend him before shooting himself, police said.

McRae was armed with two 9mm handguns. He also had eight loaded magazines in a backpack, as well as two magazines with him, Rozman said. He found that the guns were legally purchased but unregistered.

McRae was arrested in 2019 for carrying a loaded firearm without a concealed weapons permit, and he later lied about having a gun in his home, authorities said.

(This story has been corrected to change the attribution in paragraph 8.)

(Reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Chicago; Additional reporting by Rich McKay and Rami Ayyub; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)


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