Police were searching for a motive Tuesday in the shooting deaths of three students at Michigan State University by a gunman who had no known connection to the school and who later killed himself.
Five other students remain in critical condition from Monday’s shooting in East Lansing, Mich. The names of the victims have not yet been released.
Police on Tuesday identified the gunman as Anthony McRae, 43.
A caller’s tip led authorities to his location in Lansing, the state capital, after police released a photograph on social media, said Christopher Rozman, interim deputy chief of the Michigan State University Department of Police and Public Safety. The shooter was dead of “self-inflicted gunshot wounds,” Rozman said.
The gunman had no association with the university, Rozman said, adding that he was never a student, faculty or staff member.
“We have absolutely no idea what the motive was at this point,” Rozman said. “That’s an unknown right now.”
The five surviving victims are in critical condition at Sparrow Hospital, said Denny Martin, the hospital’s interim president. Four of the victims had surgery.
Shortly before 8:30 p.m. Monday, police received a call about shots fired in Berkey Hall, an academic building on the northern end of campus. Rozman said officers were on the scene within minutes and found several people injured.
Two of the students who died in the attack were in Berkey Hall, Rozman said.
As officers were in Berkey Hall, more calls came in about shots fired at the university’s student union building. Officers were sent there and found one additional victim who is among the dead, Rozman said.
Authorities believe the gunman exited Berkey and walked to the student union, about one block west, before quickly fleeing, Rozman said. “He was not in the building for that long,” he said.
Rozman declined to answer questions about the time between the two attacks, citing the ongoing investigation.
The shooting set off a four-hour manhunt as hundreds of law enforcement officers combed the campus and tens of thousands of students and community members sheltered in place.
At 11:18 p.m., Michigan State police released a photograph on Twitter of the suspected gunman, whom they described as wearing red shoes, a jean jacket and a navy baseball cap with a lighter brim.
Rozman said an “alert citizen” called in the suspect’s location, which was dispatched to police units off campus assisting in the search.
“We cannot thank the public, the community and the person who called in that report enough for being observant, for following our messaging and for being vigilant and contacting us immediately,” Rozman said.
One gun was recovered, but police are still investigating the weapon used in the attacks, Rozman said.
Police searched a home that was connected to the gunman, Rozman said, adding that he could not confirm the location or the address.
Authorities are continuing to dig into his background with help from state and federal agencies as they piece together the timeline of Monday’s attack.
Michigan State, which is home to 50,000 students, is operating under a modified schedule and has suspended all activities and classes, the school said on its website.