MSU shooting victim’s mom testifies for gun safety laws
- A mother of an MSU student who was injured in the Feb. 13 mass shooting urged lawmakers to pass gun safety laws
- The Democratic majority in the House committee voted to advance a background check bill
- A Republican expressed sympathy to the victims but said he had to also consider the constitutional rights of residents
[Editor's note: This account contains disturbing and graphic accounts of a shooting inside an MSU classroom on Feb. 13.]
LANSING - The mother of one of the five students critically injured from the Michigan State University campus shooting is urging state lawmakers to pass gun safety legislation.
Krista Grettenberger is the mother of Troy Forbush, a 21-year-old MSU student from Okemos who was at Berkey Hall when he and several other classmates were shot, two fatally.
“We are victim of a failed system that can't keep guns from those who aim to inflict devastating harm,” she told members of the House Judiciary Committee during an emotional hearing Wednesday evening. Some committee members and several audience members cried as Grettenberger spoke.
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Shortly after her testimony, the committee voted along party lines to advance a background check bill. All eight Democrats voted yes while the five Republicans voted no.
The legislation would require state or federal background checks for all firearm purchases, not just pistols, closing what supporters call a "loophole" that allows people to avoid background checks by buying long guns like rifles from private sellers.
Andrew Fink, R-Hillsdale, told reporters after the hearing that he has “nothing but sympathy for the experience” Grettenberger is going through, but he has to consider multiple perspectives when voting on gun legislation and weigh “constitutional obligations and the rights of our citizens.”
On the night of the shooting, Grettenberger said her son called to say he had been shot and that he loved her.
She said her son was “shot through his lung.”
Grettenberger said she was only five minutes away from Berkey Hall and abandoned her car when she was blocked by police barricades.
“From there, I ran down Grand River to get to the unsecured shooting scene not knowing what to expect. There, I found Troy being loaded into the ambulance. He was as gray as cement.”
While Forbush was recovering in the intensive care unit at Sparrow Hospital, his mother said she learned other details of the shooting.
She said her son told her that he begged the gunman to not shoot him before the gunman shot him in the chest.
“As he lay there in his own blood, he recalls hearing his classmates asking for belts, rushing around screaming and frightened,” she said. “One classmate even took his own shirt off and pressed it to my son’s chest.
“My son was terrified, this was his worst nightmare, a nightmare that he actually practiced for in school over and over again since he was little.”
In all, three MSU students were killed and five were critically injured in the mass shooting. Forbush was the first of the injured students to be discharged from Sparrow Hospital. Since then, two others have been discharged.
As of Wednesday evening, one student is in fair condition and another student remains in critical condition, Sparrow spokesperson John Foren told Bridge.
Grettenberger said she doesn’t know if the gun laws being proposed by state Democrats — which in addition to background checks include safe storage and “red flag” laws —would have prevented the MSU shootings. But she said “the reality is any one of these measures might have stopped this man from shooting my son, his fellow Spartans and terrorizing this entire community.”
She said her family — like other families who have survived gun violence — are the “walking wounded.”
“This is what we elected you to do,” she said. “Please, I beg you, do your job.”
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