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Hundreds mourn, honor MSU shooting victims at University of Michigan Diag

ANN ARBOR, MI – Kimberley Gerard was one of thousands of Michigan State University students barricaded indoors Monday night while the campus was locked down due to an active shooter.

“It was really scary,” she said. “I was luckily in my room at the time, so I wasn’t out, but we hid in the bathroom for four hours.”

Two days later, she stood with a candle in one hand and her miniature white poodle Bandit, who was adorned in MSU gear, in the other. Gerard was with her mother on the University of Michigan Diag to mourn and honor the MSU students killed by a shooter Feb. 13 in East Lansing.

Gerard was one of more than 1,000 people to show solidarity with MSU at a vigil late Wednesday, Feb. 15 at UM.

“It’s really showing that even though there is this huge rivalry in sports, we can really come together,” she said. “It feels really nice to know how much support we’re getting.”

Alexandria Verner, Brian Fraser and Arielle Diamond Anderson were the three MSU students killed on the MSU campus Feb. 13. Five other students remain in critical condition, police said.

Police say 43-year-old Anthony McRae was the shooter and he later killed himself.

The Feb. 15 vigil was organized by members of UM Central Student Government. It started with a four-minute silence, symbolizing the four-hour lockdown on the MSU campus during the mass shooting. The thousands in attendance filled the Diag, as green and white lights shined down on them from the Bell Tower at Ingalls Mall.

“As we gather together in solidarity, let us remember that tragedy has no boundaries,” said CSG President Noah Zimmerman. “We must continue to support each other as members of the greater Michigan community.”

“We may wear different colors, but we are all part of a larger collective of students,” he added. “When one of us is hurt, we all feel the pain.”

UM senior and Oxford native Alyssa Donovan urged those in attendance to remember the lives of Verner, Fraser and Anderson. Coming from a community wracked with grief over the November 2021 shooting at Oxford High School, she reminded people to lend support Verner’s hometown of Clawson, Fraser’s hometown of Grosse Pointe and Anderson’s hometown of Harper Woods.

“They are not alone in their grief,” she said. “We are here to support students from Sandy Hook, Parkland and Oxford, who have just lived through their second mass shooting at a place where they are supposed to feel protected.”

Donovan added that the need for mourning “exists in tandem” with the need to take political action. UM junior Mikah Rector-Brooks, who advocates for gun violence prevention through March for Our Lives, echoed the sentiment.

“This shouldn’t be normal, but it’s the reality we live with,” said Rector-Brooks, who uses they/them pronouns. “I’m sorry you have to go through this, and all from MSU have to go through this.”

They added that those struggling with grief can take advantage of therapy and mental health services available on the UM campus. Anyone at UM needing counseling or support may call UM Counseling and Psychological Services by phone at 734-764-8312 (press 0).

After the speeches concluded, the crowd of students shuffled towards a white sheet of paper to write notes of support to the MSU community. UM President Santa Ono and many of the UM regents joined students in signing the paper and will make statements about the MSU shooting at Thursday’s Board of Regents meeting.

The emotions of Monday’s shooting began to set in as the vigil started, Gerard said.

“It didn’t feel as real as it does now,” she said. “And it’s really emotional.”

Source: MLive