A man entered the Admiral gas station on East Grand River Avenue near Woodmere Avenue (just east of McDonald’s) around 7 p.m. tonight and “brandished” a silver handgun before leaving the store, according to a series of Michigan State University public safety alerts. Shortly after the man left the gas station, a gunshot was heard south of Grand River Avenue and, according to the MSU alert system, the armed person has since left the area.
The East Lansing Police Department did not issue any safety alerts during this incident, and has not yet provided any explanation or notice of the events. Contrary to rumors circulating, MSU did not go into lockdown mode.
MSU sent the first alert at 7:17 p.m., though it didn’t offer much beyond a brief explanation: “The East Lansing Police is reporting a person was seen with a weapon at or near City of East Lansing. If nearby, secure-in-place or evacuate if you can do so safely. If you are near that location, call East Lansing Police to report any unusual or suspicious activity.”
The next alert, sent at 7:30 p.m., offered more clarity: “At about 7:00pm, a subject entered the Admiral Station on Grand River Ave. at Woodmere in East Lansing. The subject brandished a silver colored handgun and left the store on foot. Shortly after, a gunshot was heard to the south of Grand River Ave.”
The man who flashed the handgun is described by witnesses as a Black man in his 40s or 50s who was wearing a green coat, black pants and a black face mask, according to the alert sent out at 7:30 p.m.
At 8:34 p.m., MSU sent out a third alert on the situation, noting that the subject had apparently left the area. It encouraged anyone who sees something suspicious to report it to the police.
The incident outlined in tonight’s alerts is the latest in a number of shootings, stabbings, and other incidents of violence around the City of East Lansing this calendar year. This tracks with a nation-wide trend (covered here by the Washington Post) of homicides in cities being up compared to years past.
East Lansing’s downtown, particularly the area of the Ann Street Plaza, has been the site of repeated violent incidents in 2021.
Early in the morning on Oct. 31, emergency workers responded to a person seriously injured by gunfire in the area of C.V.S. in downtown East Lansing. In late September, another incident in the same area left one person with “significant” stabbing wounds. And in late July, a shooting occurred in that same area.
City leaders decided to put the Albert El Fresco social space on hold to try to stem the tide and to stop stressing policing resources, but the pace of trouble downtown does not seem to have abated. In October, someone either fell or jumped from the Albert Ave. parking garage and was seriously injured.
Incidents of violence have also not been exclusive to the downtown area, either, as neighborhoods around the City have seen a noteworthy share of violent crimes.
On Oct. 30 — the same night police were dealing with post-game fires and the shooting near the CVS — police responded to two people dead from gunshot wounds at a house on Halter Lane in the City’s Northern Tier, in what police have suggested is a likely murder-suicide. In August, a shooting occurred at a Whitehills residence, and in May, a mass shooting at The Quarters, along Abbot Road just north of Lake Lansing Road, left six people injured.
Nixle provides emergency alerts for the East Lansing area as issued by ELPD. To sign up, go to this website and plug in your zip code, then follow the link to “sign up.” You can also text your zip code to 888777 for mobile alerts from ELPD.
To sign up for MSU emergency alerts, text the word MSUALERT to 888777.