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Progressive prosecutor downgraded MSU shooting suspect Anthony McRae's prior felony gun charge

Police found the 43-year-old suspect, Anthony McRae, dead from a self-inflicted gun wound off of campus

Universidad Estatal de Michigan
Universidad Estatal de Michigan | Shutterstock

February 15, 2023 12:21am

Updated: February 15, 2023 9:05am

The suspect who opened fire inside an academic hall at Michigan State University on Monday evening, killing three students and injuring five others, was identified by police after an hours-long manhunt. 

Police found the 43-year-old suspect, Anthony McRae, dead from a self-inflicted gun wound off of campus.

McRae had been previously charged with carrying a concealed weapon without a permit on June 7, 2019.

While the felony is punishable with up to five years in prison, the count was dropped in October of the same year after he pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of possession of a loaded firearm in a vehicle. He was sentenced to probation. 

Had McRae been convicted on the original felony charge, he would have been prohibited from purchasing or owning a firearm, according to the Detroit Free Press. 

But the Ingham County District Attorney’s office mitigated his felony charge to a misdemeanor. 

Authorities have not yet established McRae’s motive for opening fire at MSU. He had no obvious affiliation with the school and was not a former student or faculty member.

 However, his brother said on Tuesday that McRae “changed” after their mom died in September 2020. He quit his job and began to stay in his room all day. 

"He lived a sheltered world," his brother, Michael, told Fox News Digital on Tuesday afternoon. "He started changing. He was getting more and more bitter and angry. I'm asking him, ‘What’s on your mind?' But he wouldn't talk to me."

The shooting began at 8:18 p.m. on Monday at Berkeley Hall on campus, but shortly after it moved to a second location close to the original shooting.

The school identified the three students who were killed as Alexandria Verner, a junior from Clawson; Arielle Anderson, a sophomore from the Detroit suburb of Grosse Pointe; and Brian Fraser, a sophomore also from Grosse Point. 

As of Tuesday, the five students that were injured during the shooting remain in critical condition, according to authorities.