Michigan State to get back to classes and athletics as

Michigan State to get back to classes and athletics as students and staff continue to grapple with mass shooting horrors

(CNN) After Michigan State University’s community was paralyzed by a horrific mass shooting that killed three students, injured five others and halted campus activity, the school will begin to resume athletic and academic life since many still struggle to make sense of the tragedy.

Sporting events, some of which have been postponed or canceled due to the shooting, are due to resume this weekend and classes will resume on Monday, university officials announced.

“Athletics can be a rallying point for a community in need of healing, a fact many of our student-athletes have mentioned to me,” Alan Haller, MSU’s vice president and director of athletics, said in a statement Thursday. “The opportunity to represent our entire community has never felt so good.”

Student athletes can opt out of participating, Haller said, explaining, “There are some who are unwilling to return to sporting events. Those feelings are incredibly valid.”

All classes have been canceled through Sunday and other activities suspended for at least two days after a 43-year-old gunman opened fire on two parts of the campus on Monday night. As they fled the deadly rampage, the students jumped out of broken windows and ran to the dormitories while others spent hours taking shelter. Some students were reliving a familiar nightmare after surviving another mass shooting just over a year ago.

The five injured students “are showing signs of improvement,” MSU interim president Teresa Woodruff said Thursday. One has been transferred from critical to stable condition and the others remain in critical condition, said Board of Trustees Chair Rema Vassar.

Berkey Hall, where Arielle Anderson and Alexandria Verner were killed, will remain closed for the remainder of the semester, Woodruff said. The nearby fraternity where Brian Fraser was killed is also closed, she said, noting that its reopening is still under study.

People are getting stuff from Berkey Hall, which school officials say will remain closed for the rest of the semester.

But even as the campus returns to normal operations, community members like Professor Marco Díaz-Muñoz are still working through the pain and shock of Monday night’s tragedy.

Díaz-Muñoz does not want to return to Berkey Hall, where the gunman entered through the back door of his classroom and began shooting at his Cuban literature students, injuring several and killing Anderson and Verner, he told CNN’s Miguel Marquez.

“It was like seeing something inhuman standing there,” he described the masked man Protect. After the shooter exited the classroom, Díaz-Muñoz threw himself against one of the doors to prevent him from possibly re-entering.

Some students managed to escape through the windows while others stayed behind to help the injured, using their hands to clamp the wounds, he said. “I’ve never seen so much blood.”

Two girls, who he later learned were Anderson and Verner, seemed to be in the worst shape and “lay there in those pools of blood,” the professor said. He believes most or all of the injured students were in his classroom.

“I feel like I don’t want to remember those scenes and I don’t have to teach that class,” he said. “But there’s another part of me that feels a great need, a strong need, to see my students again… to see they’re alive, I need to see their faces.”

He tries to write a letter to his students but has trouble knowing what to say.

“Nothing in place” to stop the shooter from buying a gun, police say

The shooter, Anthony Dwayne McRae, was found by police about 4 miles from campus later Monday night after a tipster recognized his photo on the news and alerted authorities, authorities said.

As police approached him, McRae shot himself, Lt. Rene Gonzalez of the Michigan State Police.

On his body and in his backpack, investigators found two legally purchased but unregistered 9mm handguns, several loaded magazines and dozens of loose cartridges, authorities said.

“He bought the gun legally. He was allowed to buy the gun. There was nothing stopping him from buying a firearm,” MSU deputy assistant police chief Chris Rozman said Thursday.

McRae was arrested in 2019 and charged with the felony of carrying a concealed weapon without a permit and later pleaded guilty to a lesser misdemeanor for possessing a loaded firearm as part of a plea bargain, court records show.

But the lesser charge, negotiated by a prosecutor, does not prohibit him from buying firearms in the future, Lansing Police Chief Ellery Sosebee said Thursday.

Investigators also found a note on McRae that listed other potential attack targets, MSU police confirmed. Two schools in Ewing Township, New Jersey were on the list, local police said, adding there was no threat to the schools.

Other possible targets listed in the note included a warehouse, an employment agency, a discount store, a church and a fast-food restaurant, law enforcement officials with access to the note told CNN.

“We found that he had contact with some of those places,” Gonzalez said Thursday. He confirmed that McRae once worked at the warehouse, which belonged to the Meijer supermarket chain.

“At a few other companies, he seemed to have had some issues with the employees where he was asked to leave,” Gonzalez said. It looked like McRae’s possible motive was that “he just felt offended, and that’s what the note suggested,” he said.

The companies listed have been notified by law enforcement and informed that the shooter is dead, law enforcement officials said.

The victims mourned as friendly, dedicated students

Students Alexandria Verner, Arielle Anderson and Brian Fraser were killed in Monday’s shooting.

The three students killed, two of whom are from the same Michigan hometown, included an aspiring doctor, a popular liaison president and a biology student from a closely affiliated town.

Fraser, 20, was the president of the Michigan Beta Chapter of Phi Delta Theta, the fraternity said in a statement.

“As the leader of his chapter, Brian was a great friend to his Phi Delt brothers, the Greek community in the state of Michigan, and those he interacted with on campus,” the statement said.

The fraternity and his parents have created a memorial grant in Fraser’s honor with the hope that the recipients will “embody Brian’s charismatic, infectious smile and caring, loyal energy,” announced Phi Delta Theta.

Fraser, a sophomore, and Anderson, a junior, were both from Grosse Pointe, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit.

Anderson, 19, was a “remarkable student” studying to be a doctor, her aunt Chandra Davis said in an Instagram post.

“She worked diligently to graduate from Michigan State University as early as possible to achieve her goals as quickly as possible,” the family said in a statement. “As an angel here on earth, Arielle was sweet and loving with an infectious smile that was very contagious. We are absolutely devastated by this heinous act of violence against her and many other innocent victims.”

Verner, 20, was a junior at university majoring in biology, according to The State News.

“Her kindness showed through every second you were near her,” Billy Shellenbarger, a family friend, told CNN. He’s known Alexandria, or Alex as he called her, since she was in kindergarten.

In her hometown of Clawson, Michigan, Verner was a student leader and a fantastic triathlete in volleyball, basketball and softball, said Shellenbarger, the superintendent of Clawson Public Schools.

“Losing you on this planet, let alone our little community, is tough,” he said. “And it will be a while before we recover, but to have known her for as long as we all have is, once again, a gift to all of us.”

CNN’s Miguel Marquez, Meridith Edwards, Jacob Lev, Christina Zdanowicz, David Williams, Michelle Watson, John Miller, Nouran Salahieh, Holly Yan and Sara Smart contributed to this report.