On Feb. 13, 2023, 43-year-old Anthony Dwayne McRae opened fire on Michigan State University’s campus killing three students and injuring five more. McRae, who had no connection with the school, first opened fire at MSU’s Berkey Hall before moving to the Michigan State Student Union, the central hub of MSU’s student life. McRae was later found dead from self-inflicted gunshot wounds, just miles away from MSU’s campus. McRae’s motives for the shooting still remain unknown.
Arielle Anderson, 19 and a junior, was in class when she was shot dead by the shooter.
Alexandria Verner, 20, was a junior at MSU majoring in biology. Brian Fraser, 20, was a sophomore studying business and served as the president of the Michigan Beta Chapter of Phi Delta Theta. All three were the students of Michigan State University who tragically lost their lives last month, at the hands of McRae.
Guadalupe Huapilla-Pérez, a junior and one of the survivor’s of the shooting, “sustained two bullet wounds, one of which impacted five major organs.” Perez is still in the hospital recovering from her injuries. Troy Forbush, another MSU student and survivor, has been released from the hospital after being shot in the chest.
Another student survivor has also been released from the hospital but has not been identified by the media. Additionally, there are two other students along with Perez who are still recovering from their injuries in the shooting.
Michigan State University, much like North Carolina State University, is a public research university in the United States with over 38,000 undergraduate students. Both universities are the largest higher education institutions in their respective states.
Much like public universities across the country, both MSU and NC State are open campuses meaning, “invites general public visitors as well as the campus community to come and go as they please from the property.” This is how McRae was able to access MSU’s campus without being a student, staff or faculty member.
Although open campuses have been a thing for most institutions, MSU and other public universities may be moving to change or adapt this. Michigan State is taking action to change its security protocols in lieu of everything that has happened. Some of these protocols include expanding the school’s network of cameras, requiring key card access into buildings after business hours, installing a new lock system in classrooms and requiring active violence training to all faculty, staff and students.
In 2019, McRae had previously been charged with carrying a concealed weapon but later pleaded down to “possession of a loaded firearm in or upon a vehicle,” a misdemeanor instead. At first, his case was brought up on felony charges which had he been convicted for would have prevented him from being able to obtain a legal firearm. McRae was found by the police with two firearms that he had legally purchased. However, it is still unclear where he legally purchased the firearm he used in the shooting according to the police.
Gun violence has been becoming a bigger and more pressing issue in the United States, since the end of the 20th century. The Gun Violence Archive estimated 647 mass shootings in 2022, 690 mass shootings in 2021 and 96 mass shootings in 2023 this far.
Gun violence is also the number one leading cause of death in children in the United States, surpassing automobile accidents and cancer. According to Insider, “Americans are 25 times more likely to die from gun violence than people in higher income nations.”
An entire generation of people in the US are now affected by gun violence. Jackie Matthews, a 21-year-old senior and survivor of the Michigan State shooting, also lived through the horror of the Sandy Hook shooting in Connecticut just ten years ago when she was 10. In the one minute and seventeen second video that Matthews posted on her TikTok account, she recounts the trauma she endured on Dec. 14, 2012 and again just a few weeks ago. Matthews represents a generation of students who have gone through school their entire lives filled with fear due to gun violence.
As mass shootings continue, people become fearful, sorrowful and angry, demanding change and reform. All we are met with from our officials is “thoughts and prayers.” Nothing has been done on the State or Federal level to prevent tragedies like Sandy Hook and Michigan State from happening, causing this cycle to repeat itself over and over again.
Originally Published 3/9/23