Central Michigan student used father’s gun to kill his parents; Suspect in custody

Central Michigan University student James Eric Davis Jr. used his father's gun to kill his parents at a campus residence hall Friday morning, police said Saturday.

Investigators, citing a witness and video evidence, believe that the 19-year-old brought the gun from a parking lot into the residence hall shortly before the shooting, campus police Chief Bill Yeagley said Saturday.

"What we know for sure is that the gun was registered to his father, and that we saw ... he (Davis Jr.) came from the parking lot into our residence hall with the gun, and the father was upstairs at that time," Yeagley said.

The 19-year-old was apprehended early Saturday following an intensive daylong search that included more than 100 police officers, some heavily armed in camouflage uniforms, authorities said.

Plainfield native James Eric Davis Jr. was arrested without incident after an individual spotted him on a train passing through the north end of campus shortly after midnight, according to a release posted on Central Michigan's Emergency Communication website.

CMU President George E. Ross thanked the campus, surrounding community and law enforcement personnel "who came together to keep each other safe and apprehend the suspect," according to the university police website.

Friday's shooting at Campbell Hall happened on a day when parents were arriving to pick up students for the beginning of a week-long spring break.

The university identified the two dead as Davis' mother Diva Davis and father James Davis Sr., a part-time police officer in the Chicago suburb of Bellwood. The shooting occurred around 8:30 a.m. at a residence hall at Central Michigan, which is about 70 miles north of Lansing.

Following the shooting, police released a photo of Davis and urged the public to call 911 if they saw him but also warned that he shouldn't be confronted. Hours after a campus lockdown, police started a "slow, methodical removal" of staff and students who were ordered to take shelter in campus buildings, Lt. Larry Klaus said, adding that he should be "should be considered armed and dangerous."

Klaus said video at the dorm suggested that Davis had fled on foot after the shooting. He was wearing a hoodie but had been shedding certain clothes while on the run.

"This has been a tragic day. ... The hurting will go on for a while," said university President George Ross.

The search focused on Mount Pleasant neighborhoods near campus. Officers in camouflage knocked on doors and checked possible hiding places, such as yards and porches. In the surrounding community, students and staff in the Mount Pleasant school district were told not to leave nine buildings.

The shooting occurred on the last day of classes before a weeklong break. Parents who were trying to pick up students were told instead to go to a local hotel where staff would assist them while the manhunt was ongoing.

A student, Tyler Whipple, was driving through campus when his route was blocked by police cars at the scene of the killings. He had to catch a flight to Florida.

"These roads are kind of spooky right now," Whipple said.

The school posted an alert Friday morning on social media about shots being fired at Campbell Hall. An automated phone message was sent to students.

Halie Byron, 20, said she locked herself in her off-campus house, about a 10-minute walk from the dorm. She had planned to run errands before traveling home to southeastern Michigan.

"It's scary thinking about how easy a shooter can come into a college campus anywhere — a classroom, a library. There's so much easy access," Byron said.


Student had 'drug-related' incident earlier, police say

Campus police spoke with Davis Jr. on Thursday night, Klaus said during a news conference.

"At some point in the evening, he was transported to McLaren Hospital due to what the officers believed may be a drug-related-type incident, an overdose or a bad reaction to drugs. At that point he was released to the hospital staff," Klaus said.

As for Friday's shooting, "we're calling it a family-type domestic issue at this point," he said.

The victims

The Davis family was from the Chicago area. Davis Jr. graduated from a high school in Plainfield, Illinois, about 30 miles southwest of Chicago, in 2016, said Tony Hernandez, Plainfield school district spokesman.

His father was a part-time police officer in Bellwood for 20 years and assisted the department on special occasions.

"He was always there when you asked for him to be there," Bellwood police Chief Jiminez Allen said.

The elder Davis was a pillar of the community, which has 20,000 residents, and was beloved by friends and neighbors, said Harvey, Bellwood's mayor.

An Army veteran, he was also a police officer employed at the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center in Chicago, said center director Marc Magill.

"The staff at Jesse Brown VAMC take enormous pride in the care we provide our Veterans, and this situation hits us especially hard. We are currently providing grief counseling for staff," Magill said.

The violence came more than two weeks after a shooting rampage at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, left 17 people dead and spurred a national debate over gun control.

CNN's calculation of the number of school shootings include shootings on school property that involve one or more victims and other factors. These can also be domestic violence incidents.