Michigan State Community Faces Long Road to Healing After Deadly Shooting

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Vigils and gatherings were held Tuesday in East Lansing, with students, faculty and families hoping to take the first tiny steps forward in the healing process as it mourns Monday's deadly shooting on the Michigan State University campus.

Around town, classes were canceled and some businesses closed early, as the community still tries to make sense of what happened when a gunman opened fire at several locations on Monday, with three students dying and five others wounded in the violence.

A memorial has begun to form in front of the famous Spartan statue on campus, with a steady stream of people gathering all day to mourn those lost and those impacted by the violence.

“Simply, we're here because we need to pray,” said one Catholic priest at a nearby mass.

MSU students and members of the East Lansing community came together Tuesday night to pray during a special mass to honor the victims of the shooting, which took place at Berkey Hall and then at the MSU student union.

“We had our date today for Valentine’s Day, but we came out here and wanted to give condolences to the families and give out flowers to them,” said student Anesa Jackson as she stood next to her boyfriend. 

Students continued to drop off flowers and light candles near the statue, calling it a rallying point in trying times.

“It symbolizes the culture here at MSU you know? Like standing strong,” said MSU freshman Jacob Patton. 

“And independent and really living your life out there and that’s why I really do look up to Sparty because just showing you like 'hey, we’re strong!'” Jackson added. 

Meanwhile, newly-released video shows the shooter on campus during that deadly attack. He was later found dead, with police saying he suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Investigators are still tryign to piece together a motive, but in the meantime, the East Lansing community is just trying to start the healing process.

“I think we just take the time to mourn because we should realize the worst is behind us,” said Patton. “We are Spartan Strong. We have the will to survive and keep going.”

And that was the constant theme in East Lansing Tuesday. Some of the students have already had a lesson in being strong. The Oxford, Michigan high school shooting was less than two years ago. Some of those seniors graduated and attend MSU making this the second school shooting they’ve had to live through. 

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