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Police at Michigan State search for a motive in shooting that killed 3 people

ASMA KHALID, HOST:

Let's turn to news of yet another mass shooting, this time at Michigan State University.

LEILA FADEL, HOST:

Yeah. Three people are dead, five more people hospitalized for their injuries. Law enforcement say the suspect has also died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. And this mass shooting - well, it's the 67th this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive. And that's more mass shootings than days in 2023.

KHALID: Arjun Thakkar from member station WKAR in East Lansing joins us now to discuss what we know about the shooting so far. And Arjun, it's good to have you with us. Thank you.

ARJUN THAKKAR, BYLINE: Thanks for having me.

KHALID: So let's start with what we know about the timeline for the shooting. Can you walk us through that?

THAKKAR: Yeah. What law enforcement are currently saying is that at about a quarter after 8 p.m. yesterday, they received calls reporting shots fired at Berkey Hall, an academic building on campus. Soon after, they say the incident shifted and shots were also reported at a separate study space building, the MSU Union. They say the suspect fled the scene on foot. So the result of the shootings on campus is in total three confirmed fatalities and five injured, who, from what we've heard - some sustained life-threatening injuries and remain in critical condition at a nearby hospital.

KHALID: And what do we know about the shooter so far? Do we know why he was at Michigan State University?

THAKKAR: What the campus police have shared so far at their most recent press conference is that the shooter was a 43-year-old male. They also share that he died by a self-inflicted gunshot wound in neighboring city Lansing, Michigan's capital. And they believe he died after law enforcement confronted him. In terms of why he was on campus, that's something that's still unclear and that investigators remain confused about. Here's what the school's interim deputy police chief, Chris Rozman, had to say.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

CHRIS ROZMAN: That 43-year-old male is not affiliated in any way with Michigan State University. It's not a student, faculty, staff. And we have no idea why he came to campus to do this.

THAKKAR: So it appears that he doesn't have any connection to MSU. And this is one of many details that officials say they hope to learn more about as part of their investigation.

KHALID: And how has the university responded to the shooting itself?

THAKKAR: Well, MSU is scheduled to have no classes and no activity on campus for the next 48 hours. MSU's interim President Teresa Woodruff came to the last press conference and said that the community is mourning the lives lost in the tragedy. She offered up resources to students and faculty here who've - you know, they've seen some real trauma. And she also added that the university wants to ensure that this never happens again at the campus. I should add that part of the message officials are sharing is kind of emphasizing that across the mid-Michigan region, law enforcement and local governments acted in unison to respond and are also all offering their resources to the community or anyone who needs support.

KHALID: So it sounds like from what you've been describing, Arjun, though, there are still some key unanswered questions. And I'm curious if you can help us understand what law enforcement still wants to know, what they continue to investigate.

THAKKAR: Right. Law enforcement emphasized that this is still an ongoing investigation. And top of mind from what the investigators said is they want to know more about the shooter, specifically why they came to MSU and any possible motive they could also identify. And they also want to know who are the people that are injured or dead after the shooting. Law enforcement couldn't share any information about the victims last we checked, and they said they want to be sensitive about the incident to respect their families. So I imagine that's something folks will want to know more about, especially if it's students or faculty who were killed.

KHALID: Yeah.

THAKKAR: And we also expect more information is likely to come out today at another press conference with campus police as well as university officials.

KHALID: That's Arjun Thakkar. He's politics and civics reporter with member station WKAR in East Lansing. Thank you very much for taking the time. I really appreciate it.

THAKKAR: Thanks for having me. Take care. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Asma Khalid is a White House correspondent for NPR. She also co-hosts The NPR Politics Podcast.
Arjun Thakkar