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Police still looking for shooter who killed MSU student

6:59 PM, Feb 3, 2014   |    comments
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EAST LANSING, Mich. (Lansing State Journal) - Police were continuing to search Saturday for a man they believe shot two Michigan State University students in their Cedar Village apartment near the university's campus. One victim later died.

Dominique James Nolff, 20, Middleville, was pronounced dead at 9:23 a.m. Saturday due to multiple gunshot wounds, according to the East Lansing Police Department. He was an MSU sophomore studying hospitality business.

The second victim was treated for a single gunshot wound and released from Sparrow Hospital. Police did not identify him, but said he is a 20-year-old from Grand Haven.

Police said the shooting occurred about 8:45 p.m. Friday in the 200 block of Cedar Street. Police described the suspect as a black man, 20 to 25 years old, wearing tan pants, a black coat and black shoes or boots.

Police said the shooting did not appear to be a random act, but have declined to discuss a motive.

It was the first of two shootings near a state university in Michigan within 12 hours. A man believed to be a Ferris State University student was shot at about 4:15 a.m. Saturday at an off-campus apartment complex in Big Rapids, according to university officials.

Meanwhile, residents of the Cedar Village apartment complex said they are unnerved by the shooting.

"We're basically on campus," said Justin Klass, a graduate student who lives at Cedar Village.

"You expect this kind of thing to happen in other areas, but not here."

John Gaiser, 23, an MSU senior who lives near the apartment where the shooting occurred, said he saw police arrest someone at the scene.

Gaiser was with friends when they noticed police at a nearby apartment, but said he hadn't heard any shots fired.

"We were leaving (the apartment) last night and heard some noises," Gaiser said. "They (police) chased a guy out of the building, tackled him to the ground."

At the time, Gaiser said he didn't think much about it because "it's not weird to see cops on that street."

Among student housing communities, Cedar Village has a reputation for raucous parties that sometimes result in police intervention. When the MSU football team earned a spot in the Rose Bowl in early December, revelers burned trash and furniture in large bonfires on Cedar Street. Dozens of riot-gear-equipped police quelled the disturbance.

Like other students, Gaiser said he is unnerved by the shooting, but still believes the area is a safe place in which to live.

"They (police) say it was a targeted incident," Gaiser said "It would be different it was a random shooting. I still feel safe. It's unfortunate, but it's a freak thing."

Ayami Kawamata, 22, an MSU graduate student who lives near the building where the shooting occurred, said she also feels it's safe to live in the area. But she said she's not used to having bullets fired near her apartment.

"It's been pretty nerve-wracking," she said.

Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call East Lansing police at 319-6884.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the Nolff family and friends," Kent Cassella, an MSU spokesman, said in a prepared statement. "MSU stands by to assist the East Lansing Police Department."

At Ferris State University, the school said campus police were "containing the area" where the attacker was believed to be located. Students and residents were being advised to remain indoors.

The victim's injuries were not believed to be life-threatening.

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