CMU shooting suspect in custody; charged with murder

James Eric Davis Jr 1_489335

MT. PLEASANT, Mich. (WOOD) — The Central Michigan University student suspected of fatally shooting his parents on campus is being held in custody at a local hospital following his early morning arrest.

James Eric Davis, Jr. was taken into police custody shortly after midnight when an operator on a train passing through the north end of campus spotted him standing near the tracks north of Bellows Street and called police.

A CMU release said Davis, Jr. is facing a felony firearm charge and two counts of open murder.

When officers reached him two minutes later, Davis, Jr. was exhibiting signs of hypothermia and wasn’t communicating clearly, CMU Police Chief Bill Yeagley said. He was taken into custody without incident.

During a news conference Saturday morning, Yeagley said their contact with Davis. Jr. began Thursday around 9:45 p.m. when a community police officer assigned to CMU’s high rise dorms ran into him.

The officer said the 19-year-old sophomore was very frightened and said someone was out to hurt him.

“[He wasn’t] making a lot of sense,” Yeagley said during the news conference. “He’s not putting the pieces together for us. He kept talking about the guy trying to kill him, had a warrant for him for a murder. He had already committed a murder and was wanted for a murder… He was saying things like, ‘It’s just a feeling. I just know it.'”

The officer tried to calm him down and eventually got the name of the person Davis, Jr. was referencing.

Police contacted the individual for questioning, but couldn’t find evidence of any threat against Davis, Jr., Yeagley said. Police also found surveillance video of Davis, Jr. and the individual in the elevator laughing together.

Officers then asked Davis, Jr. what they could do to help him feel safe, despite finding no credible threat against him. But Davis, Jr. said he would be okay and that he was going home in the morning for break and returned to his dorm.

Around 1:15 a.m. Friday, the officer was at Campbell Hall on an unrelated issue and saw Davis, Jr. again, this time in the hallway with suitcases and bags. Again, the officer said he wasn’t making much sense, according to Yeagley.

The officer then asked Davis, Jr. to call his parents. When the officer spoke to Davis, Jr.’s parents, they agreed to come to CMU immediately as they were concerned drugs might be involved due to Davis, Jr.’s behavior.

Davis, Jr. was taken to the hospital where he stayed until his parents, James Eric Davis, Sr. and his wife, Diva, picked him up Friday morning. Yeagley wouldn’t comment Saturday as to whether drugs were found in Davis, Jr.’s system during his hospital stay.

After leaving the hospital, the Davis family returned to Campbell Hall and loaded up their car. While Davis, Jr.’s parents were inside the dorm, a witness saw Davis, Jr. enter the residence hall from the parking lot with a gun, which was also captured on surveillance video, Yeagley said.

He also confirmed the gun, which was recovered at the scene, was registered to Davis, Sr.

“So just prior to the actual incident, Mr. Davis came into our residence hall with a weapon and went to the fourth floor where we believe he shot and killed his father and his mother,” Yeagley said.

Davis, Jr. then left the building. Police will not confirm whether or not anyone else was in the dorm at the time of the shooting.

Surveillance videos placed Davis, Jr.’s whereabouts until he was last seen in the area of Cherry Street and the railroad tracks, Yeagley said. Investigators are still working to determine where Davis, Jr. was throughout their extensive search Friday, given he was found in an area they previously searched.

CMU police said Davis Jr. had no reported history of having negative interactions with anyone on campus.

CMU President George Ross said Saturday that grief counselors will be available to students and staff when they return from spring break.

24 Hour News 8 is continuing to cover this story in Mt. Pleasant. Check back with for updates as they become available.

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