Michigan State University gunman watched campus tours, had ‘infatuation’ with school shootings

Witness told police ‘students’ beat up gunman weeks before mass shooting


EAST LANSING, Mich. – The latest Michigan State University police report is giving more insight into the gunman who attacked campus in February, killing three students and injuring five others.

A gunman opened fire inside two buildings on the East Lansing campus on Feb. 13. After a three-hour manhunt, the 43-year-old gunman was found by law enforcement in Lansing, where he shot and killed himself in front of officers.

Police have since been investigating to learn more about the shooter, his whereabouts the night of the shootings, and to potentially find a motive for the shootings. MSU police initially said that the gunman had no known ties to the university.

Witness says gunman had an infatuation with school shootings

A witness who said they have known the gunman since 2018 spoke with a sergeant from the MSU Police Department.

According to the report, the witness said he met the gunman in 2018 on MSU’s campus during a gathering of community members who were interested in improving their communities.

The witness said the last time he saw the gunman was three weeks before the shootings, and that the gunman seemed agitated. The gunman reportedly told the witness that he had been beaten up by students, though the gunman did not say if they were MSU students, and he did not say what caused the altercation.

The witness said that he believed the altercation may have happened during a weekend in the Downtown East Lansing area. He said the gunman went to that area to collect cans for money on weekends. The witness told police that he believes the gunman’s altercation with students may have been the motive behind the shootings.

The witness also told police that he remembered having conversations with the gunman about mass school shootings in the past, but not recently. He believed the gunman had an infatuation with school shootings/shooters.

“On Feb. 14, 2023, at about 1400 hours, I spoke with (redacted) in the front interview room of the MSU Police Department. (Redacted) stated he knew the identity of the campus shooter. (Redacted) referred to the shooter as “Tony.”

“(Redacted) met Tony in 2018 on the campus of MSU. They met at a gathering of community members who were interested in bettering their greater Lansing communities. (Redacted) referred to Tony as (redacted) would disclose criminal activity in (redacted) neighborhood to (redacted) would then advise local law enforcement.

“The last time (redacted) saw Tony was about 3 weeks ago. (Redacted) stated that Tony seemed to be agitated. Tony told (redacted) that he had been beaten up by students. Tony didn’t indicate if the students were MSU students. Tony did not advise what caused the altercation between him and the students. (Redacted) indicated that he believes the altercation may have occurred during a weekend in the downtown East Lansing area. (Redacted) stated that Tony frequents that area to collect cans for money on the weekends.

“(Redacted) believes the indicated altercation with students may have been the motive behind the shooting on Feb. 13, 2023. (Redacted) also recalled having conversations with Tony about mass school shootings in the past. These conversations were not recent in nature. (Redacted) believes Tony had an infatuation with school shootings/shooters.

“Several times during my interview with (redacted) advised that he is a (redacted) and offered his services to the police department and/or MSU community.”

Michigan State University Police Department sergeant’s supplemental case report

Gunman watched videos of MSU campus tours before mass shooting

Police obtained a report from Google regarding the gunman’s YouTube activity and search history. Google provided YouTube history for December 2022 through February 2023.

According to the report, on Feb. 11, 2023, the gunman watched and searched for videos of MSU campus tours, killer documentaries, school shootings, arson, and hypnosis. Other searches on other days include searches for “killer” videos, “people that shot up colleges,” and “mass killings in college.” On Feb. 8, 2023, he searched on YouTube for “the bomber” and “the nail bomber.”

On Dec. 20, 2022, he searched for “hi point” and visited the “Welcome to Hi-Point Firearms” website from 12 p.m. until 12:16 p.m. On Dec. 28, 2022, he made multiple searches for “dunham’s lansing mi” and viewed the “Dunahm’s Sports” page from 8:08 p.m. until 8:23 p.m.

Michigan State University campus resources

Michigan State University has made several resources available to students, staff and faculty following the fatal shootings.

Here are some resources:

  • MSU Student Health Services
    • General info: 517-884-6526
    • Nurse on-call: 517-353-9165
  • MSU Employee Assistance Program: EAP is a confidential, free counseling service for employees
  • Counseling and Psychiatry Services: CAPS is the place for students seeking help for a wide range of health concerns.
    • Website: caps.msu.edu
    • Crisis line: Call (517) 355-8270 and press “1″ at the prompt
  • MSU Department of Psychiatry
    • Psychiatry Clinic phone number: 517-353-3070

Find more coverage of the MSU shootings here

About the Author:

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.