'Forever a Spartan': Funeral held for Michigan State victim

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A mourner hugs Jerome Lloyd-Anderson and Dawana Davis, father and mother of Michigan State University shooting victim Arielle Anderson at a funeral in Detroit, Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2023. Anderson, Alexandria Verner and Brian Fraser and were killed and several other students injured after a gunman opened fire on the campus of Michigan State University. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

DETROIT – Hundreds of people filled a church Tuesday for the funeral of a 19-year-old Detroit-area woman, an aspiring doctor who was one of three students fatally shot last week at Michigan State University.

Arielle Anderson's casket was flanked by flowers — one formed an “A” — and large photos of her, from childhood to young adulthood. Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer described her as someone with “quiet confidence" and "loud compassion.”

“Her future was robbed from her by a senseless act of violence. It's not fair,” Whitmer told mourners at Zion Hope Missionary Baptist Church in Detroit.

Whitmer promised Anderson’s family that her death “will not have been in vain.”

“Actions that we take in response to this will honor your daughter,” the governor said, a reference to gun legislation that Democratic lawmakers in Michigan are pursuing.

Rema Vassar, chair of Michigan State's governing board, referred to the morning winter weather.

“Michigan doesn't get many sunny days, but the sun came out today. ... You know diamonds are forever. And she lives forever,” Vassar said.

Anderson, she added was “smart,” “brilliant” and is “forever a Spartan.”

The funeral was the last for the three students who were killed Feb. 13 when a gunman fired at Berkey Hall and at the MSU Union. Services were held Saturday for Brian Fraser, 20, who, like Anderson, graduated from a Grosse Pointe high school, and Alexandria Verner, 20, of Clawson.

Anderson wanted to graduate from college as soon as possible on her way to becoming a surgeon, her family said last week.

Five students who were wounded remain in a Lansing hospital, including two in critical condition.

The shooter, Anthony McRae, 43, of Lansing, killed himself when confronted by police about 4 miles (6.4 kilometers) from campus. He had no connection to the victims or the university and may have had mental health problems, investigators said, citing a note in his possession.

Classes resumed Monday at Michigan State in East Lansing, about 90 miles (145 kilometers) northwest of Detroit.

On Tuesday, Democrats in Michigan’s House announced legislation that they say will help prevent acts of violence like the Michigan State University shooting. The bills parallel gun safety and background check measures that Senate Democrats put forward last week.

“This is not a political issue; it is a public health emergency," said House Speaker Joe Tate, a Democrat from Detroit.