EAST LANSING, MI — A gunman who opened fire at Michigan State University killed three people and wounded five, setting off an hours-long manhunt as terrified students hid in classrooms and cars. The shooter ended up taking his own life, police announced early Tuesday.

Officials do not know why the 43-year-old man, whose name has not been released, targeted the campus. He was not a student or employee and was not affiliated with the university, according to campus police.

The shooting began at 8:18 p.m. Monday in an academic building known as Berkey Hall and later spread to the nearby student union, a popular gathering place for students to eat or study. As hundreds of officers searched the East Lansing campus, about 90 miles northwest of Detroit, students hid wherever they could. Four hours after the first shots were fired, the police announced the death of the man.

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“It’s really been a nightmare that we’re living through today,” said Chris Roseman, interim deputy chief of the campus police department.

Ryan Kankel, 22, was attending a class in the Engineering Corps when he learned of the shooting from a university email. Kunkel and about 13 other students turned off the lights and acted as if “there was a shooter outside the door,” he said.

“Nothing came out of anyone’s mouth” for more than four hours, he said.

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“I wasn’t ready to accept that this was really happening in the neighborhood,” Kunkel said. “It’s supposed to be a place where I come, learn and improve. Instead, students get injured.”

The shooting in Michigan is the latest in a deadly new year in the US. Dozens of people have died in mass shootings in 2023, most notably in California, where 11 people were killed during a Lunar New Year gathering. dance hall popular with Asian-Americans.

In 2022, there were more than 600 mass shootings in the U.S. that killed or injured at least four people, according to the Gun Violence Archive.

“This is a uniquely American problem,” laments Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

Roseman of campus police said two people were killed in Berkey Hall and another was killed in the MSU Union, while five people are in critical condition at Sparrow Hospital.

Police eventually confronted the shooter, who later died of a “self-inflicted gunshot wound,” Roseman said.

Police have released photos of the suspect in the MSU shootings.

“We have no idea why he came to campus to do this tonight. That’s part of our investigation,” the deputy chief said.

Ted Zimba said he was walking to his dorm when he encountered a woman with “a ton of blood on her.”

“She told me, ‘Someone came into our classroom and started shooting,'” Zimba told The Associated Press. “Her hands were completely covered in blood. It was on her pants and her shoes. She said, ‘That’s my friend’s blood.’

Zimba said the woman drove off to find a friend’s car and he returned to his SUV and pulled a blanket over himself to hide for three hours.

During the hunt, WDIV-TV meteorologist Kim Adams, whose daughter attends Michigan State, told viewers the students were exhausted by the hours-long saga.

“They were hiding with the lights off in a dark room,” Adams said.

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Aidan Kelly, a junior who lives a half-mile east of campus, said he locked his doors and closed his windows “just in case.” Sirens sounded constantly, and a helicopter hovered overhead.

“It’s all very scary,” Kelly said. “And then all these people are texting me asking if I’m OK, and it’s overwhelming.”

Michigan State has about 50,000 students, including 19,000 who live on campus. All classes, sports and other activities have been canceled for 48 hours.

Some East Lansing schools and offices will also be closed.

Theresa Woodruff, acting president of the university, said it was a time to “reflect, grieve and come together.”

“This Spartan community — this family — will come back together,” Woodruff said.

The Detroit Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the FBI are on scene.

The shooting in Michigan was the latest fatality so far in the US this year

Dozens of people died as a result of mass shootings in 2023.

Tuesday marks fifteen years since the shooting at Northern Illinois University in Dekalb, Illinois.

Five people were killed and 17 others were wounded when a gunman opened fire on the campus.

Bells will toll at 3:06 p.m. outside Cole Hall to mark that tragedy.

It also marks five years since the Parkland school shooting in Florida. A gunman killed 14 students and three staff at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Kusmer reported from Indianapolis. Associated Press writers Ed White and Corey Williams in Detroit contributed to this story.

ABC7 Chicago contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2023, The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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