Categoria: Mass shooting

Police Seek Motive Of Gunman Who Killed 3, Wounded 5 At Michigan State

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Police identified the 43-year-old man who killed three students and wounded five at Michigan State University, saying Tuesday that a tip from the public led to a confrontation with officers miles from campus where the gunman fatally shot himself.

Investigators still were sorting out why Anthony McRae fired inside Berkey Hall and the MSU Union — a popular place for students to eat and study — shortly before 8:30 p.m. Monday. The shootings led to a campus lockdown and a manhunt that ended roughly three hours later.

“We have absolutely no idea what the motive was,” said Chris Rozman, deputy chief of campus police, adding that McRae was not a student or Michigan State employee.

“This is still fluid,” Rozman said. “There are still crime scenes that are being processed, and we still are in the process of putting together the pieces to try to understand what happened.”

The dead and injured all were students, Rozman said. Five remained in critical condition at Sparrow Hospital, said Dr. Denny Martin, who fought back tears during a news conference.

“Our Spartan community is reeling today,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Michigan State graduate, said at the briefing.

Police investigate the scene of a shooting at Berkey Hall on the campus of Michigan State University, late Monday, Feb. 13, 2023, in East Lansing, Mich. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)

This combination of images from surveillance video provided by Michigan State University Police and Public Safety show a suspect whom authorities are looking for in connection with multiple shootings at the university late Monday, Feb. 13, 2023, in East Lansing, Mich. (Courtesy of MSU Police and Public Safety via AP)

A stretcher is unloaded from an ambulance outside the Michigan State University Union following shootings on campus on Monday, Feb. 13, 2023, in East Lansing, Mich. (Nick King/Lansing State Journal via AP)

Students gather on the campus of Michigan State University after a shelter in place order was lifted early Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2023, in East Lansing, Mich. A gunman opened fire Monday night at Michigan State University, killing three people and wounding five more, before fatally shooting himself after an hours-long manhunt that forced frightened students to hide in the dark. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)

First responders stage outside Berkey Hall following shootings on the campus of Michigan State University, Monday, Feb. 13, 2023, in East Lansing, Mich. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)

A police officer, with his gun drawn, is seen through the window at an entrance at the Michigan State University Union following shootings on campus on Monday, Feb. 13, 2023, in East Lansing, Mich. (Nick King/Lansing State Journal via AP)

First responders are on the scene at Michigan State University following shootings on campus in East Lansing, Mich., Monday, Feb. 13, 2023. (Matthew Dae Smith/Lansing State Journal via AP)

People are seen inside the Broad Art Museum near Berkey Hall on the campus of Michigan State University as they shelter in place, late Monday, Feb. 13, 2023, in East Lansing, Mich. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)

Michigan State University Interim Deputy Chief Chris Rozman addresses the media, late Monday, Feb. 13, 2023, in East Lansing, Mich. University police say multiple people have been reported injured in shootings on campus. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Michigan State University Interim President Teresa K. Woodruff addresses the media, Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2023, in East Lansing, Mich. A gunman killed several people and wounded others at Michigan State University. The shooting set off an hourslong manhunt as frightened students hid in classrooms and cars. Police said early Tuesday that the shooter eventually killed himself. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

E.W. Sparrow Hospital Dr. Denny Martin address the media, Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2023, in East Lansing, Mich. A gunman killed several people and wounded others at Michigan State University. The shooting set off an hours-long manhunt as frightened students hid in classrooms and cars. Police said early Tuesday that the shooter eventually killed himself. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Mich., addresses the media, Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2023, in East Lansing, Mich. A gunman killed several people and wounded others at Michigan State University. The shooting set off an hours-long manhunt as frightened students hid in classrooms and cars. Police said early Tuesday that the shooter eventually killed himself. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

RELATED: Justice Department giving states $231 million for gun violence prevention programs

President Joe Biden pledged his support during a phone call, she said.

“We mourn the loss of beautiful souls and pray for those continuing to fight for their lives. … Another place that is supposed to be about community and togetherness shattered by bullets and bloodshed,” Whitmer said.

Michigan State has about 50,000 students, including 19,000 who live on campus. As hundreds of officers scoured the East Lansing campus, about 90 miles (145 kilometers) northwest of Detroit, students hid where they could Monday night.

During that time, police released a photo of the suspect, and an “alert citizen” recognized him in the Lansing area, Rozman said.

“That was exactly what we were trying to achieve by releasing that picture. We had no idea where he was at that point,” Rozman said.

Police confronted McRae about 5 miles from campus in an industrial area, where he killed himself, Rozman said.

McRae was on probation for 18 months until May 2021 for possessing a loaded, concealed gun without a permit, according to the state Corrections Department.

Dominik Molotky said he was learning about Cuban history around 8:15 p.m. when he and the other students heard a gunshot outside the classroom. He told ABC’s “Good Morning America” that a few seconds later, the gunman entered and fired three to four more rounds while the students took cover.

“I was ducking and covering, and the same with the rest of the students. He let off four more rounds and when it went silent for about 30 seconds to a minute, two of my classmates started breaking open a window, and that took about 30 seconds to happen. There was glass everywhere,” Molotky said.

“After that, we broke out the window and I climbed out of there, and then I booked it back to my apartment,” he said. He was unsure whether gunfire hit any of the students.

Claire Papoulias, a sophomore, described on NBC’s “Today” how she and other students scrambled to escape a history class out a window after the gunman entered through a back door and began firing.

“There was a boy in my class, and he was waiting outside the window, and he was catching people and helping people down,” she said. “As soon as I fell out of the window I kind of hit the ground a little. I just grabbed my backpack and my phone, and I remember I just ran for my life.”

Ryan Kunkel, 22, was attending a class in the Engineering Building when he became aware of the shooting from a university email. Kunkel and about 13 other students turned off the lights and acted like there “was a shooter right outside the door,” he said.

“Nothing came out of anyone’s mouth” for over four hours, he said.

Ted Zimbo said he was walking to his dorm when he encountered a woman with a “ton of blood on her.”

“She told me, ‘Someone came in our classroom and started shooting,’” Zimbo told The Associated Press. “Her hands were completely covered in blood. It was on her pants and her shoes. She said, ‘It’s my friend’s blood.’”

Zimbo said the woman left to find a friend’s car while he returned to his SUV and threw a blanket over himself to hide for three hours.

All classes, sports and other activities were canceled for 48 hours.

Interim university President Teresa Woodruff said it would be a time “to think and grieve and come together.”

“This Spartan community — this family — will come back together,” Woodruff said.

The shooting came a day before the fifth anniversary of the Parkland, Florida, school shooting that killed 17 and is the latest in what has become a deadly new year in the U.S.

Dozens of people have died in mass shootings so far in 2023, most notably in California, where 11 people were killed as they welcomed the Lunar New Year at a dance hall popular with older Asian Americans.

In 2022, there were more than 600 mass shootings in the U.S. in which at least four people were killed or wounded, according to the Gun Violence Archive.

Kusmer reported from Indianapolis. Associated Press writers Ed White and Corey Williams in Detroit contributed to this report.

Justice Department Giving States $231 Million For Gun Violence Prevention Programs


WASHINGTON — The Justice Department is sending out more than $200 million to help states and the District of Columbia administer “red-flag” laws and other crisis-intervention programs as part of the landmark bipartisan gun legislation passed by Congress over the summer, officials said Tuesday.

Red-flag laws, also known as extreme risk protection orders, are intended to temporarily remove guns from people with potentially violent behavior and prevent them from hurting themselves or others. Nineteen states and the District of Columbia have red-flag laws.

Some of the $231 million in funding announced Tuesday, the fifth anniversary of the deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida, will also go to crisis-intervention court proceedings and other gun-violence reduction programs.

RELATED: Suspect has died of apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound after a mass shooting at Michigan State University that killed 3, wounded 5

Red-flag laws have been touted by President Joe Biden and others as a powerful tool to stop gun violence before it happens. But an Associated Press analysis found they are often underused even as shootings and gun deaths soar around the U.S. That can be due to a lack of awareness or reluctance to enforce the laws.

The suspect in a mass shooting targeting an LGBT nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colorado, in November, for example, had allegedly threatened his mother with a homemade bomb a year and a half earlier, but there’s no public record that police or relatives tried to trigger Colorado’s law.

The laws differ by state, but they generally allow people like family members or law enforcement to petition a court for an order removing weapons, for up to a year. Some critics fear they could be used to wrongly curtail Second Amendment rights. The Justice Department said the program has checks in place to ensure due process.

The funding is part of the $1.4 billion from the legislation provided to the Justice Department over five years for gun violence prevention measures.

The legislation passed in June was the widest-ranging gun violence bill in decades. It toughened requirements for young people who seek to buy guns, denied firearms for more domestic abusers, and bolstered funding for mental health programs and schools.

Attorney General Merrick Garland said the funding will “help protect children, families, and communities across the country from senseless acts of gun violence.”

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Two Weeks Later, What We Know — And Still Don’t Know — About Monterey Park Shooter

Regulars at Monterey Park’s Star Ballroom Dance Studio were line-dancing to a catchy version of the Chinese ballad “Light Rain in March” at around 10:20 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 21, when a series of rapid pops rang out, signaling the start of one the most horrific chapters Los Angeles County history.

At first, some patrons thought the sound was that of firecrackers from a Lunar New Year celebration outside the ballroom. But then bloodied dancers began to collapse on the wooden floor.

Those who were fortunate to survive the onslaught cowered under tables or hid in a back room. Some watched as 72-year-old Huu Can Tran, a bespectacled, disgruntled former dance instructor in a distinctive black-and-white toboggan cap who had last visited Star Dance more than five years ago, sprayed the venue with 42 bullets from a semi-automatic pistol.

When the five-minute rampage ended, 10 people lay dead while 10 more were wounded. One of the patrons later succumbed to injuries, bringing the body count to 11.

Fleeing the Star Dance, Tran’s fury was unquenched.

He quickly drove about two miles to Lai Lai Ballroom & Studio in Alhambra, but was blocked from entering by the owners’ son, 26-year-old Brandon Tsay, who heroically wrestled his gun away during a fierce struggle.

Tran ran off and remained at large for more than 12 hours until police pulled over his white van with a stolen license plate in a Torrance strip mall parking lot. As officers closed in, Tran fatally shot himself in the head with a Norinco 7.62×25-millimeter pistol.

Authorities have not offered an explanation as to Tran’s whereabouts between the time of the shooting and his subsequent suicide or a motive for the crime.

“What drove a mad man to do this? We don’t know, but we intend to find out,” Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna vowed just after the shootings.

In the two weeks since the slaughter, authorities still can’t answer that question. Details have trickled out about Tran’s troubled life along with delusions and paranoia that might have pushed him to commit the largest-ever mass shooting in Los Angeles County. But much of it is speculation.

So far, here’s what we definitively know — and still don’t know — about the gunman.

A divorced immigrant Tran submitted a naturalization petition to the U.S. Department of Justice in 1990 indicating he was born in 1950 in Vietnam.

However, he immigrated from China, according to a copy of his marriage license provided by his ex-wife to CNN. The couple divorced in 2006 and there is no indication they had any children. Information was not immediately available regarding when Tran came to the U.S.

Tran’s former wife, who asked not to be named due to the sensitivity of the case, told CNN she met Tran about 20 years ago at Star Dance, where he gave her free dance lessons. The couple was apparently smitten and married soon after.

However, Tran was a taskmaster on the dance floor. The woman said that while Tran wasn’t violent, he became angry if she missed a step while dancing because it made him look bad, according to CNN.

Business owner and landlord Tran formed Tran’s Trucking Inc. in 2002 and listed himself as chief executive officer, However, the company was dissolved two years later with no assets.

Tran also dabbled in real estate, renting out his home on Manor Way in San Gabriel, while continuing to live on the property.

A former tenant, who doesn’t want to be identified to avoid public exposure, described Tran, who visited Star Dance nearly every evening, as distrustful, angry and delusional, believing dance instructors there were jealous of him. A friend said Tran believed instructors said “evil things” about him, according to CNN.

But authorities said Tran had not been to Star Dance in at least five years, suggesting that if he held a grudge, he carried it for a long time.

The tenant said that after Tran sold his home, they moved into an apartment in Alhambra, but had a falling out over the rent security deposit. He eventually won a judgment against Tran for $700.

Vigilante and crime victim Prior to the Star Dance massacre, Tran was barely a blip on police radar.

His only documented arrest occurred in 1990, when he was charged with carrying a concealed weapon and carrying a loaded firearm in San Gabriel after attempting to chase down a man who stole beer from a liquor store.

Tran purported to be a frequent crime victim as well.

He reported to San Gabriel police in 1992 the sister-in-law of the married woman he was dating threatened to have a Taiwanese gang kill him if he didn’t end the relationship and likely planted 49 shotgun shells in his yard to intimidate him. Investigators couldn’t prove the allegations and closed the case.

Seven years later, Tran notified San Gabriel police that he had received numerous calls from someone who did not say anything when he answered the phone. In the police report, Tran listed his occupation as “dancing instructor/self-employed.”

Conspiracy theorist and gun aficionado More recently, Tran visited the Hemet police station on Jan. 7 and Jan. 9, claiming his family had engaged in fraud and theft and more than a decade ago tried to poison him. He promised to return to the station with documentation to prove his allegations, but never came back.

When law enforcement officers searched Tran’s residence at The Lakes at Hemet West mobile home park hours after the Star Dance shooting they made an ominous discovery, recovering a .308-caliber rifle, items for manufacturing firearm suppressors and a large amount of ammunition.

It’s still unclear how Tran obtained the weapons.

Authorities have not released information detailing Tran’s trip from Hemet to Monterey Park to carry out the attack. It’s also unknown if the massacre was spontaneous or meticulously planned. However, it seems that Tran may have had an escape plan, stashing a motorcycle near the dance studio as an alternative getaway vehicle.