CMU Deadly Shooting: Suspect In Custody, New Details Surface After Capture

“We believe he shot and killed his father, then his mother,” says Bill Yeagley, Chief of CMU Police.

Shots fired in Central Michigan University, two parents of a student dead and that same student on the run, accused of killing them all filled nearly every hour of Friday, March 2 in Mount Pleasant.

After more than 12 hours of fear, police caught the suspect alive.

Saturday morning, Central Michigan University police say a tip led them to the arrest of 19-year-old suspect James Davis, Jr., but not before a search swarmed into the city with over 100 law enforcement personnel.

At the end of Friday, we knew CMU police received a report of shots fired from the fourth floor of CMU’s Campbell Hall.

Police say Davis used his father’s police handgun to shoot and kill his father, James Davis, Sr. and his mother, Diva.

Then, they say he ran away on-foot, sending police from all different agencies into the skies and on the ground through neighborhoods looking for him.

Schools throughout the area went into lockdown.

A 15-hour manhunt across the entire city of Mount Pleasant ended Saturday morning around 1 a.m. when police say they found Davis, Jr. next to the railroad.

The president of the university says this has traumatized the community.

State Police cruisers blazed down roads, helicopters circled overhead in the sky, and law enforcement agencies on-foot with guns and dogs seemed to be a common sight throughout the day on Friday.

CMU chief of police Bill Yeagley says the tragic events began rolling out the evening before.

“James ran into the office of our community policing officer very frightened,” Yeagley says. “He said someone was out to hurt him. Someone was going to harm him and the officer calmed him down, tried to get more information of what was going on.”

Police say they found the man James Davis, Jr. spoke of but there was no threat.

When they found him hours later, he was still talking strangely.

“The officers approached him to say, hey, are you alright? What’s going on?” Yeagley says. “I thought you were going home tomorrow? Mr. Davis again acts in a fashion that isn’t reasonable or logical.”

Chief Yeagley says Davis was taken to the hospital Thursday night on suspicion of drug use, and released Friday morning.

That’s when the horror began.

“Mr. Davis was seen coming from the parking lot, into the residence hall with a gun in his hand and we have video photos of that as well to support that,” Yeagley says.

Moments later, CMU chief of police says Davis went outside to get his father’s gun and he returned to shoot his parents, then left the gun at the scene, heading northbound along the railroad tracks.

“A methodical, slow and thorough search of Mill Pond Park took place by the Emergency Services team from Isabella County and the Michigan state police,” says Paul Lauria, director of Mt. Pleasant’s Department of Public Safety.

Shortly after midnight on Saturday, a tip from a train on the move found its way to CMU Police.

“One of the employees of that train, one of the operators of that train noticed a subject standing out near the railroad tracks. They thought that was suspicious.” Yeagley says. “Within two minutes, CMU Police officers were on scene.”

Hypothermic, incoherent – CMU Police arrested Davis and sent him to McLaren Central Michigan Hospital, where he remains under guarded supervision.

“We thank God, we thank God that this incident ended quickly and the suspect has been apprehended,” says George E. Ross, Central Michigan University president.

President Ross says the next steps for the community and his students are to cope and recover.

He says counseling will be made available indefinitely starting the week after spring break for both students and faculty, alike.

“We’re not done yet,” Ross says. “There were thousands of people on campus yesterday and they are going to be dealing with this the rest of their lives.”

“I actually live a floor below him,” recalls CMU sophomore Daniel Mwaniki, who lives on the third floor of Campbell Hall. “I didn’t really expect anything that far left to come into the picture.”

Students like Mwaniki and senior Marcus Herring say the air of tragedy lingers, but peace is returning.

“I don’t think the overall vibe is going to change,” Mwaniki says. “If anything, there is probably going to be more security.”

“I’m glad they were able to find him,” Herring says. “I’m glad they were able to take him in without having to kill him.”

James Davis, Jr. faces two counts of open murder and one count of having an illegal firearm.

He will be arraigned after he is released from the hospital.