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 train worker 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.
Family and friends are in shock and say the act is inconceivable; Davis Jr., is a “great kid” and a beloved brother. “Please don’t make a villain of my brother… that is NOT who he is… and despite the circumstances, he also lost a mother and father… And I LOVE him. Consider that,” wrote his brother Russell Davis, a divinity student.
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 Jiminez 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.”
More than 100 law enforcement officers were involved in the manhunt. Police said Davis was armed and dangerous. CMU Police Lt. Larry Klaus said police found clothing discarded on nearby train tracks but didn’t confirm the items were from Davis. Friday afternoon, Klaus said police have no leads, no sightings, no calls and asked the community to shelter in their homes.
Friday morning shortly before 9 a.m., CMU students began tweeting about a shooting in a residence hall on campus. Some time later, university police and administrators posted an altert for students to stay put. Meanwhile, the campus newspaper Central Michigan Life, began to report what was occurring in a series of tweets and Facebook posts.
At a press conference held shortly before noon Friday it was confirmed two non-students were dead and Davis was the suspect. Campus police said Davis had a “drug incident,” a “bad reaction” to drugs Thursday night and was hospitalized. Friday morning, his parents arrived on campus to bring him home for spring break. The shooting occurred and Davis fled. Police had been searching since Friday morning for the teen.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Davis Was Taken Into Custody After Midnight
While Davis was at large, 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.”
The CMU campus newspaper spoke to students who live in the dorm and were awakened by “two bangs.”
Davis’ sister Tweeted a heartbreaking message for prayers and to express her love for her parents, Diva and James Davis Sr.
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.
2. Campus Police Said Davis Was Hospitalized Thursday Night In a ‘Drug-Related Incident’
CMU campus police said during a Facebook Live press conference that Thursday night Davis hospitalized in a “drug-related incident …a bad (drug) reaction.” Friday afternoon police said they were responding to a “difficult student” situation. Davis left the hospital, police said, at around 8 a.m. Friday morning and returned to campus.
People that know Davis can’t wrap their heads around what he did.
3. Davis’ Jr.’s Family & Friends, Grieving, Stunned, & Confused Asked For Prayers
Davis Jr.’s brother Matthew’s anguished post on Facebook is a statement on the unfathomable.
And a close 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.
With perfunctory re-tweets about R Kelly and photos of a friend’s visit to “the city,” most of Davis’ recent tweets or re-tweets were innocuous save one from Feb. 14, Valentine’s Day.
If anything, his Twitter posts show a spiritual if not religious young man, and a happy but busy student taking tough classes.
And his posts also show he did a lot of traveling in the summer of 2017.
In 2016 he posted images from high school.
4. Early Friday, Police Described the Shooting a ‘Domestic Incident’
At first, CMU Campus Police Lt. Larry Klaus declined to say if the victims were Davis’ parents, he described it as a “domestic incident,” adding notifications needed to be made first. We now know Davis shot and killed his parents, Diva and James Davis.
5. CMU Students Were Supposed to Begin Spring Break Friday After Their Last Classes & Parents Arrived at a Nearby Motel for Pick-Ups
“Those planning to come to campus today to pick up students for spring break should stay off campus until further notice. Please go to the Comfort Inn, 2424 S. Mission St. University staff will be on site to support the families,” CMU administrators advised parents.