EAST LANSING, Mich. — Police were searching late Monday night for a lone gunman who opened fire in two Michigan State University buildings killing three people and wounding at least five others who were rushed to a nearby hospital.
Just after 11:30 p.m., MSU police confirmed three individuals had been killed in addition to five victims who were transferred to a Lansing hospital.
“Some of those victims do have life-threatening injuries,” MSU Interim Police Chief Chris Rozman said at an 11 p.m. news conference.
“The whole MSU’s heart goes out to the victims and their families,” said Dan Kelly, vice chair of the MSU Board of Trustees.
The lone gunman remained at large and was last seen leaving the MSU Union on foot on the north side of the building on Abbot Road and Grand River Avenue, Rozman said. The Michigan State Police released a surveillance camera image of the suspect, whom police described as a Black male, shorter in statute, wearing red shoes, a jean jacket and a baseball cap.
Rozman urged students and East Lansing residents who live near campus to remain sheltered in place.
The university said the first shots were fired inside Berkey Hall at 8:18 p.m. on the north end of campus near Grand River and Farm Lane.
“We received multiple 911 calls of a shooting inside Berkey Hall,” Rozman said. “Numerous officers responded. We were quickly on scene within minutes. And there we did locate several victims of a shooting.”
Police then responded to reports of a shooting at the MSU Student Union on Abbot Road, Rozman said.
“We tended to the victims at both of those scenes and there was an overwhelming law enforcement response to campus to help with this situation,” he said.
Gunshots reportedly were later heard at nearby Snyder-Phillips Hall, where police began swarming the building with guns drawn. IM East was investigated afterward, according to MSU police.
Rozman said there were multiple false reports of gunfire at other buildings across campus.
MSU spokeswoman Emily Guerrant initially said there was one fatality from the shooting inside Berkey Hall, which houses the College of Social Science, the Institute for Public Policy and Social Research and the Department of Sociology, according to MSU’s website. MSU later confirmed three were dead.
Five shooting victims were transported to nearby Sparrow Hospital in Lansing, hospital spokesman John Foren said.
There was no immediate information about their condition, Foren said.
“Suspect is still at large and believed to be on foot,” MSU said in a statement. “All persons on campus and in (the) neighboring community should immediately shelter in place and secure the room they are in.”
Down the street from Berkey inside the Broad museum, students and staff could be seen sheltering in place inside, wrapped in blankets. One woman stopped a reporter to ask how she could get her daughter out of her dorm. Police had blocked off access to the building.
MSU police indicated that Berkey, Brody, Snyder-Phillips, Mason, Abbot and Landon halls had been cleared and secured as well as the MSU Union.
Before 10 p.m., MSU police said the suspect is believed to be a short male with a mask: “Please continue to shelter in place. We are still receiving multiple calls of an active shooter on campus.”
A police helicopter regularly circled over the campus as law enforcement closed down Grand River between Division and Abbot. Several different departments were on scene, including agencies from neighboring departments, such as the Livingston County Sheriff’s Department, Meridian Township police and the Ingham County Sheriff’s Department.
Text messages were also sent out to students on campus at about 8:30 p.m. Monday.
“Secure in place immediately,” the messages said. “Run, hide, fight.”
Alexis Dinkins, an MSU sophomore, was inside Akers Hall, a dormitory on campus, when she heard people barricading doors and shouting, “Go. Go. Go.” So she said she and other students started to run out of Akers.
As they left the dorm, they encountered police who told them to go to a nearby bus stop.
“We don’t feel safe anywhere,” Dinkins said, standing with a group of students on a campus sidewalk after leaving Akers. She described the situation as “terrifying.”
MSU police said Monday night that campus activities were canceled for the next 48 hours, and advised people not to come to the campus.
The shooting at MSU comes 14 months after a lone shooter killed four students and wounded six students and a teacher at Oxford High School. Ethan Crumbley, who was 15 at the time, pleaded guilty to the shooting in October and is awaiting a hearing where a judge will determine whether he should be sentenced to life in prison.
Law enforcement was setting up a unified command post at the Cowles House on campus. Michigan State Police, Meridian Township police, the Ingham County Sheriff’s office plus its regional special response team joined MSU campus police on campus.
At about 9:40 p.m., someone yelled from a campus dormitory window: “Did you catch him yet?”
“All I could do is just think about, ya know, nothing and everything at the same time,” said Matayaa Newbern, 18, a freshman and sociology major standing outside IM East.
Nearly 30 firetrucks, ambulances and other emergency vehicles were lined up outside of the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum on Grand River Avenue in downtown East Lansing.
At another point, two armed law enforcement officers escorted about 100 students down the sidewalk after they appeared to be coming from the basketball courts.
“I’ve been briefed on the shooting at Michigan State University,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said on Twitter on Monday night. “The Michigan State Police along with @msupolice, local law enforcement and first responders are on the ground. Let’s wrap our arms around the Spartan community tonight. We will keep everyone updated as we learn more.”
(Detroit News staff writers Kim Kozlowski and Carol Thompson contributed to this story.)
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