Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg on Tuesday condemned the mass shooting that took place the day prior at Michigan State University’s campus in East Lansing, Michigan, which claimed three lives and left five others critically wounded.
“The last thing students should be worrying about is getting shot,” Buttigieg tweeted Tuesday morning, roughly 12 hours after the shooting was reported. “News from Michigan State University is heartbreaking, and it is yet another maddening call to further action on gun violence in America. This has to end.”
Police said that Anthony McRae, 43, is the suspected gunman who killed 4 people, including himself, at Michigan State University on Monday evening. Five others who were wounded were taken to E.W. Sparrow Hospital to receive medical care and remain in critical condition.
Investigators have not yet determined a motive in the shooting.
While many public officials in Michigan have condemned the horrific crime, Buttigieg’s swift statement is noteworthy as the transportation secretary has faced recent criticism over his political priorities amid a series of transportation disasters, including a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) outage that grounded more than 11,000 flights in January and the train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, that spilled toxic chemicals into the environment on Feb. 3.
Critics slammed Buttigieg for taking 10 days to respond to the train derailment, which led to a plume of toxic gas being released into the air as officials conducted a controlled burn of vinyl chloride to prevent an explosion. In the days following the accident, residents have reported sick and dying animals, as well as headaches other ill-health effects.
Buttigieg neglected to mention the accident during an on-stage appearance at the National Association of Counties Conference on Monday, where he discussed issues like racial disparities in construction and the bipartisan infrastructure law. He issued a statement about the accident after taking flak on social media all day Monday.
“I continue to be concerned about the impacts of the Feb 3 train derailment near East Palestine, OH, and the effects on families in the ten days since their lives were upended through no fault of their own. It’s important that families have access to useful & accurate information,” Buttigieg tweeted.
He added, “USDOT has been supporting the investigation led by The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). Our Federal Rail Administration and Pipelines and Hazardous Materials teams were onsite within hours of the initial incident and continue to be actively engaged.”
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