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MSU shooting: Gunman had hundreds of bullets, walked away on busy streets

  • MSU police say campus shooter bought bullets hours before mass shooting
  • Anthony McRae shot at least 18 times, carried hundreds of additional bullets, according to investigators
  • Authorities release map showing McRae walked down main streets after shooting

LANSING — Michigan State University Police say the gunman who killed three students and injured five others purchased his ammunition hours before the shooting and still had more than 200 bullets on him when confronted.

In their latest update on the Feb. 13 shooting, police said Thursday that Anthony McRae, 43, of Lansing fired at least 18 times on campus over roughly eight minutes, including once outside between Berkey Hall and the MSU Union.

A map released by police revealed that McRae walked nearly 5 miles on busy streets following the shooting. Authorities say he killed himself when approached by police more than three hours after leaving campus.


Police say McRae carried two guns he had purchased legally but had not registered: a Hi-Point C-9 9mm handgun he bought on Sept. 7, 2021, and a Taurus G3 9mm handgun he bought on Oct. 5, 2021.

Investigators believe McRae only used the Taurus during the MSU shooting, they said Thursday. That gun was loaded with 13 rounds in the magazine and one bullet still in the chamber when officers recovered it, according to police. He also had one extra loaded magazine in the chest pocket of his coat. 

The Hi-Point handgun was loaded with nine rounds in a magazine and one bullet in the chamber. Authorities also recovered ten extra Hi-Point magazines in McRae's backpack, along with 136 rounds of loose ammunition.

Police said the bullets in all those magazines were "consistent" with 9mm ammunition he had purchased earlier that day at 4:46 p.m., about 3 ½ hours before he opened fire on campus. 

Investigators recovered 14 bullet casings in Berkey Hall, where shots fired were first reported at 8:18 p.m. They found three casings in the MSU Union, along with one casing outside the university's Human Ecology Building, which is between Berkey and the Union. 

McRae shot and killed Alexandria Verner, 20, of Clawson and Arielle Diamond Anderson, 19, of Harper Woods in a classroom in Berkey Hall before killing Brian Fraser, 20, of Grosse Pointe Park at the MSU Union.

The five students who were critically wounded were also believed to be shot in Berkey Hall, although police have never confirmed that detail. 

MSU has not fully explained the 12-minute gap between the first report of shots fired and the first emergency notification to students and staff at 8:30 p.m.

Motive unclear

McRae's motive for the shooting remains unclear, aside from a hand-written note he carried that pointed to possible mental health issues, included complaints over alleged racism and a belief that unidentified people "hate" him.  

"Investigators have determined that the note found on McRae at the time of his death provides the most information about his state of mind at the time of the shooting," police said Thursday.

Authorities say McRae did not have a direct connection to MSU, which he said in his note he would be "shooting up," along with a handful of other potential targets. After searching his electronic devices, they confirmed he acted alone.

Police said McRae had some alcohol in his system at the time of his death — he had a .04 blood alcohol level — along with THC, the psychoactive component of marijuana.

Route after shooting

Investigators on Thursday also offered their first detailed account of how they believe McRae arrived at and eventually left MSU on the night of the shooting. 

MSU investigators believe Anthony McRae walked this nearly 5-mile route after he opened fire on campus on Feb. 13. (MSU police)
  • McRae had arrived by bus, which he exited at a stop near Berkey on Grand River Avenue at 7:19 p.m. — nearly one hour before the first shooting. 
  • He appeared to stay in the area for that hour, passing by the Broad Art Museum at least twice, including once at 8:12 p.m.
  • As previously reported, the first 911 call of shots fired in Berkey came at 8:18 p.m., and was seen entering the MSU Union at 8:24 p.m. and leaving just two minutes later. 
  • In a new disclosure, police said Thursday they believe McRae also fired one shot outside as he walked between Berkey and the MSU Union.
  • After leaving campus, investigators say McRae then walked by foot nearly 5 miles to Lake Lansing and Larch roads in Lansing, where he shot himself after police had located him and approached him at 11:49 p.m.
  • Much of that trip was on busy streets, including Grand River, Saginaw Highway near the Frandor shopping center and Oakland Avenue in Lansing, according to a map that police called their "best attempt" at determining his route based on various sources.

All told, MSU police said Thursday that they have processed 128 tips since the Feb. 13 shooting and investigated them in partnership with the FBI, the Michigan Department of Attorney General, the East Lansing Police Department, and the Michigan State Police.

“Since the violence our community experienced took place, MSU Police and Public Safety has been committed to sharing as much information as we can as we are able,” Chief of Police Chris Rozman said in a statement. 

“Our detectives have been working tirelessly on this investigation, and I am proud of the work they have and continue to put forward.” 

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