The gunman who shot dead three people at Michigan State University may have also been planning to attack two schools, according to police.
Anthony McRae, 43, died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound after opening fire on students at the East Lansing campus on Monday night.
Five people were also taken to hospital – some in a life-threatening condition – and the campus was locked down for hours while police searched for him.
Mc Rae’s motive and any links to MSU are still unknown, but he had a history of mental illness and his neighbour described him as a “hell-raiser” who would fire his gun at home.
Police in Ewing, New Jersey, more than 800 miles away, said a note had been found in his pocket that “indicated a threat” to two public schools there.
They didn’t provide any more details but said on Facebook that McRae hadn’t lived there for several years.
He was living with his father in Lansing at the time of the shooting.
Michael McRae said his son had acquired a gun despite a 2019 conviction for not having the right permit – which would have barred him from getting another weapon.
“I told him to get rid of the gun,” Michael McRae told The Washington Post. “He kept lying to me about it and told me he got rid of it.
“He would go outside to shoot, and I would see casings on the ground, and he’d say, ‘Oh, that’s not me, Dad.'”
He said his son had struggled since his mother died in 2020, staying in his room for hours and not taking care of his appearance.
McRae’s attack began on Monday night when he first shot people at an academic building before attacking others at the nearby MSU union.
Students described running for their lives and jumping from windows to escape, while others barricaded rooms as police issued a “shelter-in-place” order.
The gunman was found several hours later – about five miles away – after someone recognised him from CCTV images and called police.
He shot himself dead, though it’s unclear if he was already dead when officers arrived.
Aspiring surgeon and fraternity president among victims
Tributes have been paid to the three students shot dead: Alexandria Vernier, Brian Fraser and Arielle Anderson.
Ms Vernier was studying integrated biology and anthropology and described by her school district superintendent as a “tremendous student, athlete, leader [who] exemplified kindness every day of her life”.
Brian Fraser was president of MSU’s Delta Theta fraternity.
“Brian was our leader, and we loved him,” it said in a statement.
“He cared deeply about his Phi Delt brothers, his family, Michigan State University, and Phi Delta Theta.
“We will greatly miss Brian and mourn his death deeply as our chapter supports each other during this difficult time.”
Arielle Anderson’s family said she was hoping to graduate early from MSU so she could become a surgeon as soon as possible.
They said she had an “infectious smile”, adding: “As much as we loved her, she loved us and others even more.”