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MSU shooter convicted on 2019 gun charge; Lansing neighbors often heard gunshots

Gunman was not allowed to carry a firearm while on probation
Suspect photo, MSU shooting
Posted at 4:48 PM, Feb 14, 2023

LANSING, Mich. (WXYZ) — The shooter who gunned down eight students on Michigan State University’s campus Monday had previously pled guilty to a gun charge and was not allowed to carry a firearm while on probation.

Neighbors say they often heard gunfire come from Anthony McRae's Lansing home, where he lived with his father.

“It’s kind of scary knowing he could have been here doing the same thing that he was doing out there,” said neighbor Tyler Bender this morning.

Court records reveal that just before 2 a.m. on June 7, 2019, Lansing police found McRae sitting on the steps of an abandoned building.

An officer was patrolling the area due to a rash of burglaries. When confronted, McRae told police he was carrying a .380 semi-automatic pistol. It was loaded, officers found, and there was another magazine in his pocket.

He did not have a CPL and was charged with carrying a concealed weapon, a felony. It would be later pled down to a misdemeanor and the shooter served 18 months on probation.

McRae’s neighbors told us they often heard gunfire coming from his Lansing home.

“Throughout the summer there was gunshots once in a while,” said Tyler Bender.

Another neighbor said he heard gunfire “at least a couple times a month.”

The shooter’s criminal history in Michigan is otherwise unremarkable, but police did uncover evidence of threats made in another state.

In the gunman’s pocket Monday night, officers found a note that included threats to two schools in Ewing, New Jersey, where the shooter used to live.

Out of an abundance of caution, the district did not hold classes Monday but said there is no evidence of a threat.

Ewing police said McRae had a history of mental health problems. Neighbors said the gunman’s father seldom talked about his son.

“(His father) mentioned him maybe only once or twice in the last five years, and there was never any mention of mental health problems,” said one neighbor. “Just everyday struggles like a young man does have sometimes.”

Contact 7 Investigator Ross Jones at ross.jones@wxyz.com or at (248) 827-9466.