Central Michigan University student James Eric Davis Jr. used his father’s gun to kill his parents in a campus dorm shortly after he was released from a hospital where police had taken him to a hospital for suspected drug use, authorities said Saturday.
University Police Chief Bill Yeagley said the 19-year-old freshman retrieved a gun registered to his father, a part-time cop in suburban Chicago, from a campus parking lot and then opened fire on his parents on the fourth floor of Campbell Hall around 8:30 a.m. Friday.
On the previous day, police twice encountered Davis Jr. behaving erratically and was “very frightened” and “not making sense,” Yeagely said.
Police notified the parents, who quickly left their home in Plainfield, Ill., and drove nearly 300 miles to CMU in Mount Pleasant.
The parents, Eric Davis Sr. and Diva Jeneen Davis, had just picked up their son from the hospital and went with him to his dorm to pack his belongings for spring break. A video shows Davis Jr. in the dorm’s parking lot with a gun before he returned to the dorm and opened fire on his parents at 8:30 a.m.
Police didn’t say whether Davis Sr. brought the gun with him or what type of firearm it was. Guns are prohibited on campus, with an exception for police on active duty.
“We can make a lot of assumptions, but I’m not going to make those assumptions,” Yeagely said of whether the father brought the gun. “But I can tell you for sure that the gun came from outside, in the parking lot, with [Davis Jr.] through the building.”
Yeagely said he suspects Davis Jr. was on drugs, but he declined to say whether drugs were found in his system or why he discounted the onset of mental illness.
Davis Jr. fled after the shooting, leading to a massive manhunt with heavily armed police in camouflage uniforms. Police tracked down Davis Jr. and arrested him without incident shortly after midnight after a passenger on a train spotted someone along railroad tracks and called police.
Prosecutors charged Davis Jr. with two counts of murder.
On Saturday, Davis Jr. was under guard at a hospital. When he’s discharged, he will be taken to the Isabella County Jail, Yeagely said.
Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.