A 19-year-old Central Michigan University student who police say shot his parents to death inside of his dorm room Friday morning used his father’s handgun.
James Eric Davis, Jr.’s father was a part-time police officer in the Chicago suburb of Bellwood, Illinois.
Davis’ parents, Diva and James Davis Sr., had drove through the night to pick up their son from a local hospital and bring him home for spring break after CMU police had committed him the night before.
While Davis’ parents were in his dorm packing up his belongings, CMU Police Chief Bill Yeagley said video surveillance confirms that Davis walked from the parking lot to the fourth floor of Campbell Hall with a gun in his hand.
After he shot his parents to death, Davis ran from the campus and headed north along the railroad tracks. The campus was placed on lockdown while more than 100 police officers from multiple agencies swept the area. Davis was arrested 16 hours later without incident on the road, just off the tracks, and the gun used in the murder was found on him, police said. A train operator had called police to alert them of a man standing on the tracks around midnight.
"The danger that our community has experienced over the last 24 hours or so is now over," said Yeagley in a press conference Saturday morning.
Davis remains hospitalized and is being treated for hypothermia.
Events leading up to murder
CMU police detailed the events leading up to the fatal shooting Friday morning, painting a picture of a distressed young man.
On Thursday evening, around 9:45 p.m. Davis went to the CMU community police officer who patrols the residence halls. He was frightened and incoherent, telling the officer that a person with a gun and a warrant for murder, was after him.
Davis told the officer that he had just shared an elevator with the person who wanted to harm him, but when police reviewed surveillance video of the elevator ride, Davis and the person appeared to be laughing and not in confrontation. Police spoke with the person who Davis identified and said there was no registered weapon. He was released and Davis assured police he was feeling more secure.
A few hours later, around 1:15 a.m., as the police officer was dealing with another issue in the dorm room, he saw Davis with bags and suitcases. The officer approached Davis to see if he was OK, but he said Davis was not reasonable or speaking logically.
The officer asked Davis to call his parents, and spoke with Davis’ mother Diva. He told Diva that he thought Davis may have been on drugs and the officer and Diva agreed to take Davis to the hospital to be checked out, according to Yeagley.
Meanwhile Diva said she and her husband would be there first thing in the morning. That’s when they picked up Davis from the hospital and took him to the dorms to pack up.
Roommates locked in room during shooting
Several of Davis’ roommates locked themselves in a room of the dorm during the murder. A CMU student texted his mother in Detroit and said, “ma, I think my roommate just shot his mom,” a distraught woman said Friday.
Her son told her that another roommate ran in the bedroom and locked the door because he said there was gunfire in the common area.
“I just told him to stay in his dorm and when the police did finally come to get them out, he said the father was across his bedroom door, I guess he had to step over him,” she said, holding back tears.