© Reuters. Michigan State University students protest in front of the State Capitol against guns, following a mass shooting of eight MSU students on Monday at campus, in Lansing, Michigan U.S. February 15, 2023. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook


By Brendan O’Brien

(Reuters) -The gunman who killed three students at Michigan State University and wounded five others carried a note with him listing places where he might have felt slighted, police said on Thursday, suggesting a possible motive behind the shooting.

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

McRae, 43, had no known connection with the university in East Lansing, about 90 miles (145 km) northwest of Detroit. Authorities say they were trying to determine whether mental illness played a role in the rampage.

“That is obviously something we are going to look at. In hindsight, judging what mental illness someone has is very difficult without some type of former diagnosis,” Chris Rozman, interim deputy police chief at Michigan State, said.

“Obviously, in this case there appears to be indications that may be the case.”

McRae’s father, Michael McRae, said his son was a loner who apparently had no friends and spent most of his time in his room in the house that they shared in the adjacent city of Lansing, police said.

Authorities found two pages of notes on Anthony Dwayne McRae that listed two public schools in New Jersey and the names of a warehouse where he worked, a church, and other places where he appears to have felt slighted. Two bus tickets were also found.

“So it looks like possibly a motive for that – he just felt slighted – and that’s what we’re dealing with,” Rozman said.

On Monday night, McRae entered Berkey Hall, an academic building on Michigan State’s northern campus, and began shooting, authorities said. He then fled to another building and opened fire there 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 were not releasing the names of the wounded out of respect for their families, he said.

The wounded victim’s lives may have been saved by fellow students who rendered aid as the mass shooting was unfolding, said university Police Chief Marlon Lynch.

After the shooting, a manhunt ensued for the suspect, who police found three hours later about four miles (6.5 km) from the campus. The suspect appeared to be simply walking home when officers tried to apprehend him before he shot himself to death, police said.

McRae was armed with two 9mm handguns. He also had eight loaded magazines in a backpack, as well as two magazines on his person, Rozman said. He noted that the guns were purchased legally but were not registered.

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

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