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A Feb. 13 shooting at Michigan State University in Lansing, Michigan, has left three people dead and another five hospitalized in critical condition, according to university police.
University police have identified the gunman as 43-year-old Anthony Dwayne McRae, who they say acted alone.
McRae died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound after being confronted by law enforcement off campus and had no affiliation with the university, police said.
On the eve of the fifth anniversary of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, reports of an active shooter on Michigan State University’s campus erupted online.
"MSU ALERT: There have been shots fired near Berkey Hall on the East Lansing campus. Please secure-in-place immediately. Police are active on scene. More information to follow," read an 8:40 p.m. Eastern Standard Time tweet from the Michigan State University police.
But even as the scene was still active, a wave of posts misidentifying the gunman began to spread on Twitter and Facebook.
"#BREAKING: Michigan State University SHOOTING SUSPECT is 21 year old ‘Lynn Dee Walker’ according to dispatch audio. He is still on the loose and considered armed and dangerous," read one viral tweet, which displayed images of Walker and was quickly cross-posted to Facebook as a screenshot.
One Facebook post claimed that Walker had "made threats earlier" on the platform about his plans.
These posts are dangerous and inaccurate, and were flagged as part of Instagram’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)
Authorities have identified the gunman as 43-year-old Anthony Dwayne McRae, who died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound off campus after he was confronted by law enforcement.
Many of the social media posts naming Walker credit police scanner chatter for the information. Regardless of whether his name was mentioned, scanner traffic (especially during an incident) is notoriously unreliable and comprises tips, rumors and unconfirmed reports.
Police said the actual suspect, McRae, wasn’t affiliated with the university as a student or an employee, and is believed to have acted alone.
"We have no idea why he came to campus to do this tonight," Michigan State University Interim Deputy Police Chief Chris Rozman said during an early morning Feb. 14 news conference.
Police said McRae had a note in his pocket threatening two schools in Ewing Township, New Jersey. McRae had ties to the area, the school district’s superintendent said in a statement.
Social media posts claim that the Michigan State University shooter was a 21-year-old man named Lynn Dee Walker.
University police have identified the gunman as 43-year-old Anthony Dwayne McRae, who died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound off campus after he was confronted by law enforcement.
McRae wasn’t affiliated with the university as a student or an employee, police said, and is believed to have acted alone.
We rate this claim False.
Facebook post, Feb. 13 2023
Facebook post, Feb. 13, 2023
Michigan State Police Twitter post, Feb. 13, 2023
Michigan State Police, Twitter post, Feb. 14, 2023
MSU Police, NEWS RELEASE: Active Shooter Incident, Feb. 14, 2023
The State News, Three dead, five injured in mass shooting at Michigan State University; no threat imminent, Feb. 13, 2023
The Detroit News, 3 killed, 5 wounded at Michigan State campus shooting; suspect dead, updated Feb. 14, 2023
Associated Press, Police seek motive of gunman who killed 3 at Michigan State, Feb. 14, 2023
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