Michigan State University Rocked by Mass Shooting That Killed 3 Students and Critically Injured 5 Others

Five students were fighting for their lives in critical condition after a gunman killed three others at Michigan State University Monday night. Authorities say the gunman later killed himself.

Michigan State University is reeling after a gunman stormed the campus late Monday, killing three students and critically injuring five others. The gunman killed himself miles from campus after a three-hour search, authorities said.

“This is a day of shock and heartbreak here across our campus, in our region," said interim university president Teresa Woodruff at an overnight press conference. "It’s something that’s quite unimaginable. We are devastated at the loss of life."

Ryan Kunkel, 22, was in an engineering class when he received a university email about an active shooter on campus. The students turned off the lights and hunkered down.

“Nothing came out of anyone’s mouth” for over four hours, he said.

The shooting started at 8:18 p.m. in Berkey Hall, home to the school’s college of arts and sciences, killing two people, said Chris Rozman, the interim deputy university police chief, at a news conference Tuesday morning.

The gunman then moved on to the student union, a public gathering hall, and where he shot to death another student, Rozman said.

For hours, frightened students, faculty and staff waited in eerie silence as hundreds of officers charged the campus, searching for the gunman. 

Social media videos showed students running in panic. People hid where they could, some barricading themselves in classrooms and dormitories, while others climbed out windows and ran.

Jane Nodland was studying in the student union building with her boyfriend Monday night. She heard three gunshots and threw herself into a corner before running away. “I thought I was going to die,” she told reporters. “It sounded like he was right there.”

The gunman was identified as 43-year-old Anthony McRae. He had no affiliation with the school, Rozman said.

“We have absolutely no idea what the motive was,” Rozman said. “There are still crime scenes that are being processed, and we still are in the process of putting together the pieces to try to understand what happened.”

A caller identified the shooter from a photo released by authorities. After being confronted by officers, he shot himself to death in an industrial area about five miles from the sprawling campus of 5,200 acres in East Lansing, police said. A weapon was found with his body, authorities said, but no details were released about its type or caliber.

Sophomore Claire Papoulias told NBC’s “Today” that she and other students fought to escape through a classroom window after the gunman entered and began shooting.

"There was a boy in my class, and he was waiting outside the window, and he was catching people and helping people down,” she said. “As soon as I fell out of the window ... I just grabbed my backpack and my phone, and I remember I just ran for my life.”

The campus will remain closed for two days and authorities urged people to stay away from the school grounds. East Lansing public schools were also closed Tuesday.

At a news conference Tuesday Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer called the shooting "a uniquely American problem.”

She noted that Tuesday was the five-year anniversary of the mass high school shooting in Parkland, Fla., where 17 people died. 

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