Skip to main content
Bridge Michigan
Michigan’s nonpartisan, nonprofit news source

Arielle Anderson, killed at MSU, loved photography wanted to be a doctor

Arielle Anderson was a junior at Michigan State University studying to become a pediatrician. She excelled at academics and enjoyed photography. (courtesy photo)
  • Arielle Anderson was a bright student eager to graduate 
  • Anderson was a sophomore, but a junior by credit
  • A GoFundMe has been started to support the family of the Harper Woods native.

Arielle Anderson excelled in the classroom and she also was passionate about helping others.

“She was super smart, at the top of her class,” her aunt Kim Spivey said. “She was going to be a doctor.”

Still just 19, Anderson was supposed to be a sophomore at Michigan State, but she earned enough credits in high school to technically be considered a junior credit wise in college.


A statement issued by a spokesperson for Comerica Bank, where Anderson’s mother Dawana Davis has worked for years, said that Arielle Anderson was passionate about serving people and helping others and she was trying to graduate early from MSU. 

Anderson died on Monday night after being shot, along with two other students, Brian Fraser  and Alexandria Verner. Five others, who were seriously injured in the shooting, remain hospitalized.

Anderson of Harper Woods was a 2021 graduate of Grosse Pointe North High School.

Her aunt Kim Spivey, said that Anderson was in an integrative Arts and Humanities course called Cuba: The Forging of a Unique Cultural Identity, when the shooting happened. 

Always MSU

Anderson fell in love with MSU even before attending.

“She loved it,” her aunt Spivey said of MSU. “Her mom wanted her to go to Wayne State, but she was like, ‘No I wanna go to Michigan State”

Last time

On Monday evening, another of Anderson’s aunts, Chandra Davis, a model and former reality show contestant known as Deelishis, posted on Instagram that Anderson was in a classroom in the same building as the shooter and had not heard from her.

Friends and family later posted social media tributes to Anderson. One relative identified on Instagram as ShayBaby called Anderson an “angel on earth.”

On Tuesday, family members recalled that they last saw Arielle last weekend. She had come home Thursday to visit her mother Dawana Davis in Harper Woods, just east of Detroit. They went to a Detroit Pistons game, and the teen spent time with her grandmother April Davis and an aunt who  is nonverbal. 

“She had a special needs auntie who she loved,” said April Davis, her grandmother. “That was her pride and joy.” 

On Sunday morning, Anderson's father took her back to school.

One of Anderson's favorite hobbies was photography and her aunt said her art was featured at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. Anderson also liked creating content on her YouTube channel, going to concerts and spending time with her family. 

Donations have been pouring in since Timothy Davis, Arielle’s uncle, launched a GoFundMe fundraiser on behalf of the family.  Over $22,000 was raised in less than 24 hours. As of Friday, the tally climbed past $46,000.

First English Evangelical Lutheran Church will host a  vigil for Arielle Anderson at 5 p.m. on Feb. 18. 

“Everybody loved her,” added her aunt Kim Spivey. “Nobody’s perfect, but she’s close as they come.” 

A viewing for Anderson is 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. Feb. 20 at QA Cantrell Funeral Home, 22121 Kelly, Eastpointe. Her funeral is at 10:30 a.m. Feb. 21 at Zion Hope Missionary Baptist Church, 4867 Van Dyke, Detroit.

How impactful was this article for you?

Only donate if we've informed you about important Michigan issues

See what new members are saying about why they donated to Bridge Michigan:

  • “In order for this information to be accurate and unbiased it must be underwritten by its readers, not by special interests.” - Larry S.
  • “Not many other media sources report on the topics Bridge does.” - Susan B.
  • “Your journalism is outstanding and rare these days.” - Mark S.

If you want to ensure the future of nonpartisan, nonprofit Michigan journalism, please become a member today. You, too, will be asked why you donated and maybe we'll feature your quote next time!

Pay with VISA Pay with MasterCard Pay with American Express Pay with PayPal Donate Now