Teenager James E. Davis Jr. faces two counts of homicide-open murder in the slaying of his parents on the Central Michigan University campus Friday. Davis also faces a charge of weapons-felony firearm (possession of a weapon to commit a murder), CMU officials said. After medical clearance, the UCM sophomore will be taken to the Isabella County Jail.
After 15 hours of searching, double murder shooting suspect Davis Jr., 19, was apprehended shortly after midnight when a passenger on a train spotted the college student in the same area authorities had been looking all day Friday, an area just north of Central Michigan University campus.
The CMU sophomore killed his parents, Diva Janeen Davis, 47, and James E. Davis Sr., 48, a part time police officer in Bellwood, IL. Diva Davis, a breast cancer survivor, recently announced on Facebook a new career as a self-employed real estate broker.
Central Michigan University confirmed on Twitter that Davis Jr. was under arrest. “The suspect in the shooting incident that happened on CMU’s campus is now in custody,” the school wrote early on March 3.
The Mt. Pleasant Department of the Public Safety said Davis was arrested “without incident.”
In a morning briefing at CMU, police said Davis was arrested after a train employee saw Davis “going down the tracks” at 12:15 a.m. Saturday March 3 and alerted police.
CMU Police Chief William Yeagley said Davis was found “cold …hypothermic and not making sense” just north of the campus standing near the railroad tracks. Davis was taken into custody without incident . Yeagley said, “… (Davis) clearly was cold and life was not making sense to him to him.” Police transported him to McLaren Central Michigan hospital where he remains under guard.
Yeagley detailed what occured the night before.
Yeagley said Davis ran up to a dorm community service police officer at 9:45 p.m. Thursday night saying someone was trying to harm him. Davis said someone had a gun and was after him. The officer tried to calm him but Davis insisted he saw a gun. Police located the person Davis had been riding in an elevator with and began to question the person. Throughout these exchanges, Yeagley said, Davis was “not making sense,” saying someone “had a warrant for him for murder” and had a gun. Police asked how he knew this and Davis said, he “just had a feeling …I just know.” Yeagley said Davis was “vague, unclear” and confused. Police examined video from the elevator and found Davis and the other person laughing and, Yeagley said, appeared to have a “good relationship.” Police saw no crime. They then asked Davis what he needs “to feel safe” and he told them he was “fine” and “going home in the morning.”
At 1:15 a.m. Friday, campus officers, dealing with another issue, saw Davis with suitcases and bags in the dorm hallway and asked him “What’s wrong? Aren’t you going home tomorrow?” Yeagley said Davis “made no sense …was illogical.” The campus officer called Davis’ parents and spoke to his mother Diva telling her they believed drugs could be involved. Police said Mrs. Davis too was “worried it could be drugs” and that she and her husband were coming right away. Yeagley said the officer told her that her son was “mentally not making sense.” Police then transported Davis to the hospital and told hospital staff what they’d encountered and observed with Davis. Davis’ parents arrived at the hospital at some time during the overnight hours and Friday morning brought Davis back to campus to pack up and return home for spring break, Yeagley said. Police said a witness saw Davis coming from the parking lot into the dorm with a gun. Police said they have video of that. Police confirmed that Davis’ parents were in his room, that Davis likely retrieved a gun registered to his father, went to his fourth floor dorm room and shot his parents. Michigan Police Friday night confirmed Friday night that Davis used his father’s gun. Davis Sr. was a police officer in Bellwood, IL. Police said it was against university policy for Davis Sr. to have brought the firearm on campus without a permit, despite the fact that he was a police officer, albeit in an Illinois jurisdiction.
After the shooting, Davis took off on foot running north toward the railroad tracks very near CMU campus. Despite 15 hours of searching, Davis was located in the very area that some 100 officers had been looking. Yeagley was unable to say where Davis was, what he’d been doing, if he had help or why despite all the law enforcement resources, Davis wasn’t located until the tip from the train worker after midnight. Yeagley said it was part of the ongoing investigation.
CMU has a campus ‘Care Team’ that helps students with emotional, mental or similar issues and Yeagley said Davis was “never reported …no negative reports ever.”
Davis was not armed though police said Friday he was “armed and dangerous.” The gun used in the murder, his father’s weapon, was recovered at the scene, Yeagley said.
Bellwood Police Chief Jimenez Allen issued a statement Friday night.
“Personally, and on behalf of Mayor Andre F, Harvey, the Village Trustees, the Bellwood Police Department, and all the residents of the Village of Bellwood, I extend my sincere and heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of James E. Davis Sr. and his wife Diva Davis on the heels of their tragic and untimely death on the campus of Central Michigan University. Since 1999 Officer Davis has admirably served as a part-time police officer in the Bellwood Police department and his contribution to a community positively impacted everyone he served and served with while we wait additional details, we will provide great counseling and other supportive services to those in need. We will also provide assistance requested by our fellow law-enforcement agencies as they were card to seek justice. May they rest in peace.”
Early Friday, police Lt. Larry Klaus declined to say if Davis had taken a weapon from his father, but by late Friday night, Michigan State Police said Davis Jr., used his father’s gun.
Klaus said at a late Friday morning briefing that police had found clothing discarded on nearby train tracks but didn’t confirm the items came from Davis. At the time, Klaus said police had no leads, no sightings, no calls and asked the community to shelter in their homes.
The deadly shooting occurred just before 9 a.m. Friday. Hiding in a classroom, a CMU student tweeted “someone wants to start shooting.” Moments later, another student tweeted: “shots fired.” The university cautioned students to shelter in place.
Here’s what we know so far:
1. Police Apprehended Davis Jr., After a Train Worker Spotted Him Shortly After Midnight.
He’d Been On the Run For 15 Hours
With the sun close to setting and temperatures dipping, after more than eight hours, police are still searching Mount Pleasant for Davis. Clothing was found on train tracks that may be his, but he remains at large.
Friday night, the Mt. Pleasant Department of Public Safety posted a message to residents on Twitter asking them to shelter in place and not try to find Davis: “Please do not actively search for the suspect or engage anyone matching the description of the suspect. Instead, please call 911 or 773-1000 to report suspicious activity or someone matching the description of the suspect.”
Initially, it was unclear who the victims were in the shooting Friday morning in Campbell Hall, a CMU dorm, and police declined to name Davis’ parents as the victims saying just that it was a “domestic incident” and death notifications needed to be made first.
Davis’ sister Tweeted a heartbreaking message for prayers and to express her love for her parents, Diva and James Davis Sr.
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A friend posted a video to Twitter asking for prayers and sharing his shock and confusion about what may have happened this morning; why did Davis kill his parents.
Federal agents joined the search for Davis who is still on the loose.
BREAKING: Special agents from the Detroit Field Division’s Flint office are en route to Central Michigan University to assist in a shooting incident that happened at a campus dorm. pic.twitter.com/oMCvJh9CIW
— ATF HQ (@ATFHQ) March 2, 2018
The first report of shots fired on Central Michigan University campus came shortly before 9 a.m. from a student hiding in a classroom. Minutes later, the CMU Campus Life Twitter reported the shooting happened on the fourth floor of the campus’ Campbell Hall and an officer on the scene as of 9:30 a.m. cautioned the “shooter still there.”
Campbell Hall is a student dorm located in a cluster with three other residence halls. The dorm has a police presence generally.
The campus newsource, Central Michigan Life, the college paper since 1919, interviewed a student who knows Davis.
Sophomore Caleb Kleinman told CML he’d met Davis through another friend.
“We would hang out pretty frequently. A couple times a week he’d stop over by my dorm and hang out with my roommates and me. I consider us friends. If I ever saw him in class or out around town, I’d stop and have a conversation with him.”
Kleinman told the paper that he hadn’t seen Davis this week adding, “I definitely didn’t notice any odd behavior — he was kind of a quiet kid though. He was definitely not one to shy away from having a conversation with one of his friends …(Davis) definitely didn’t want to be the center of attention in a group of people, but he never had any behaviors that seemed odd or that would make me think that he would be involved in a situation like this.”
The paper also posted a video with student living in the dorm where Davis murdered his parents. https://twitter.com/CMLIFE/status/969754825536737281
2. Students Posted Their Own Alerts Warning of a Live Shooting Incident Beginning Friday Morning
Students posted alerts beginning around 9 a.m.. A student reported hearing “two bangs.” The university posting on its website around 20 minutes after the first student tweet.
CMU students posted they were hiding in classrooms or staying put.
The first person to tweet about the shooting posted the University is “still in lockdown.”
3. More Than 100 CMU Campus, Local, State and Federal Officers & Agents Searched For Davis
The first description of then “person of interest” Davis came Friday morning from CMU student Connor Byrne:
“Reports of Shots fired at Campbell Hall, subject is a male last seen with mustard colored jeans and a blue hoodie, pistol potentially in waistband. He is not in custody and on foot north of Campbell hall. Do not move from where you are.”
4. Police Warned Students & the Surrounding Community To Lock Their Doors & Stay Put Until Davis Was Captured
The university posts on its homepage this alert: “There has been a report of shots fired at Campbell Hall on campus. Suspect is still at large, police advise all to take shelter. If you see something suspicious, call 911. There has been a report of shots fired at Campbell Hall on campus. Suspect is still at large, police advise all to take shelter. If you see something suspicious, call 911”
5. Minutes After the CMU Shooting, Students Began Posting Photos & Videos as They Documented the Incident