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Police missed MSU shooter in campus building by 1 minute, investigation finds

Michigan State University sign

Police at Michigan State University arrived at the student union building one minute after the gunman in the February 13 mass shooting on campus left the building.

That’s among the preliminary findings in the MSU Police and Public Safety Department’s investigation into the shootings and the law enforcement response.

The department laid out a timeline of the events of February 13, starting at 8:18 p.m., when the first “shots fired call” was received by Ingham County 911 dispatch from Berkey Hall on the north side of the MSU campus.

Two minutes later, according to the timeline, officers arrived at Berkey Hall. By then, police have said, seven students were shot. Two of them died.

Then, at 8:24 p.m., the police timeline shows, the shooter entered the MSU Union building, where he killed another student. By 8:26, he had left the building and left campus. Officers arrived at the Union building one minute later.

The first campus emergency alert went out at 8:30 p.m., 12 minutes after the first shooting was reported.

Three hours after the first report of a shooting, MSU police shared a photo of their suspect on social media. Within the next hour, a 911 caller reported a person matching the description walking along a road in Lansing about four miles from the MSU Union, and police responded.

The suspect, 43-year-old Anthony McRae, fatally shot himself when police approached him.

Police released images of a note they found in McRae’s pocket. It detailed his plans for the shooting at MSU and outlined what he said were plans for more shootings by other people in other locations.

MSU’s Department of Police and Public Safety said those claims were unfounded: “Investigators from MSU DPPS, Michigan State Police and the FBI have determined through comprehensive reviews and detailed follow-up that McRae acted alone and was not working with other people.”

On the night of the mass shooting, Ingham County 911 received 2,100 phone calls, police said — 2.5 days’ worth of phone calls in the span of five hours.

Police said their investigation into the shooting is continuing.

Brett joined Michigan Public in December 2021 as an editor.
Kevin Lavery is a general assignment reporter for WKAR in Lansing.
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