Michigan State University gunman found with note threatening 2 New Jersey schools, police say

Police say their investigation indicated that Anthony McRae has not lived in the Ewing area in several years.

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Wednesday, February 15, 2023
Michigan State gunman found with note threatening 2 NJ schools
Ewing Township police say they were notified by authorities in Michigan that Anthony McRae was found with a note in his pocket that indicated a threat to two schools.

EWING, New Jersey (WPVI) -- Police in Ewing Twp., New Jersey say the decision to close the school district on Tuesday came after the man who shot eight students at Michigan State University, killing three, was found with a note threatening two Ewing schools.

The schools were closed on Tuesday, but officials say they will reopen on Wednesday.

Police say the gunman, who killed himself hours after fatally shooting three students at Michigan State University, was 43-year-old Anthony McRae.

The three victims were identified on Tuesday as Brian Fraser, a sophomore from Grosse Pointe, Michigan, Alexandria Verner, a junior from Clawson, Michigan, and Arielle Anderson, anther junior from Grosse Pointe.

RELATED | What we know about the Michigan State mass shooting victims

Action News has learned that McRae used to live in Ewing Twp. before moving to Lansing, Michigan. He still has some family in the area.

"The shooter had local ties. He was a previous resident, it appears, of Ewing Township and may have suffered some mental illness," said Chief Al Rhodes of the Ewing Police Department.

Three students were killed and five more critically wounded in a Michigan shooting on the MSU campus in East Lansing, local police said.

They were notified by police in Michigan that McRae was found with a note in his pocket that indicated a threat to two Ewing schools.

"They shared a little bit that there was a threat to our public schools. That was about six o'clock in the morning. We didn't have much time to waste, we had to put a plan into action to make sure the safety of our students was taken into account," Rhodes said.

Investigators say that McRae had a history of mental health issues.

"As the investigation continued, and out of an abundance of caution, the Ewing Public Schools were closed for the day," Ewing police said. "Officers from Ewing and surrounding agencies were stationed at each closed public school as well as other schools in the township."

Ewing police say that after further investigation it was determined the incident was isolated to Michigan and "there is no threat to Ewing schools."

Police say their investigation indicated that McRae has not lived in the Ewing area in several years.

Police cruisers and black SUVs could be seen in front of Ewing High School and Lore Elementary school.

"On behalf of the Ewing Board of Education and administration, I would like to thank the Ewing Police Department and other law enforcement agencies for their rapid and thorough response. All Ewing Township Public Schools will resume normal operations tomorrow, February 15, 2023," Ewing Public Schools Superintendent Dr. David Gentile said. "Our hearts go out to the victims in Michigan. The safety of our students and staff remains our top priority. We will continue to cooperate and partner with the Ewing Police Department in the wake of this incident. Thank you for your patience and support."

WATCH: Authorities ID MSU shooter

Police have identified gunman who they said shot and killed three students at Michigan State University.

Police say five Michigan State University students remain in critical condition following the mass shooting.

The shooting began Monday night at an academic building and later moved to the nearby student union.

Police say McRae shot himself miles from campus while being confronted by officers.

Chris Rozman, deputy chief of campus police, says investigators still "have absolutely no idea" what McRae's motive was.

McRae was not a student or Michigan State employee.

MSU shooter pleaded guilty to firearm charge in 2019, court records show

McRae previously pleaded guilty to a firearm charge.

He was arrested in 2019 and charged with carrying a concealed weapon without a permit, a felony. He later pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor for possession of a loaded firearm and spent a year and a half on probation.

Around 2 a.m. on June 7, 2019, according to court records, a Lansing Police Department officer saw McRae sitting on the back steps of an abandoned building smoking a cigarette. The officer, who was patrolling the area after burglaries in the vicinity, asked McRae if he had any weapons, and McRae said that he did.

The officer patted McRae down and confirmed that he had a loaded semi-automatic pistol in his pants pocket, as well as another magazine for the gun in his breast pocket.

McRae admitted that he did not have a concealed pistol license, and the officer arrested him. McRae told the officer he carried the gun for his safety and was trying to obtain a permit. The officer confirmed the gun was registered to McRae, according to court records.

A lawyer for McRae initially argued that the officer lacked probable cause to search him. But in November 2019, McRae pleaded guilty to possession of a loaded firearm as part of a plea agreement. McRae agreed to forfeit the gun involved in the case and was banned from owning weapons during his probation.

McRae was originally sentenced to a year of probation, but that was later extended to a year and a half. McRae was discharged from probation in May 2021, the court records show.

Ewing Township police say the Michigan State University shooting suspect had a note threatening Ewing schools.


CNN & The Associated Press contributed to this report.