CMU sophomore arrested for murder of parents

March 3, 2018

By Pat Maurer



James Eric Davis Jr. was located and arrested just after midnight Saturday morning for the Central Michigan University shooting of his parents James Eric Davis Sr., 48, and Diva Jeenen Davis, 47 in his 4th floor room around 8:30 a.m. Friday morning. The murders happened in one of the Towers Complex residential units.

Davis Sr. was a part-time police officer in a suburb of Chicago, the Bellwood Police Department, who had served there since 1999. Diva Davis was a real estate broker, former flight attendant and a breast cancer survivor.

The murders took place as thousands of CMU students and staff were preparing to leave the campus for spring break. It prompted a campus lockdown and “shelter in place” order for CMU police while a more than 15-hour multi-agency manhunt was ongoing for Davis Jr. who had fled north along the railroad after the murders.

Mt. Pleasant schools were also put on lockdown as well as City buildings.

Surrounding area schools, including Farwell, Clare, Harrison, Coleman and Shepherd were also notified and were on an outside threat mode. Friday afternoon Clare dismissed school early and cancelled bussing, asking parents to pick up their students. No one was allowed to walk home.

Harrison Schools posted on Facebook that beginning March 5th all of the district’s building would be locked from 8 a.m. until students are released from school. The elementary schools had already been locked, but the secondary buildings were added because of the Mt. Pleasant safety threat.

The search for Davis Jr. continued throughout the day and evening with State Police, Tribal Police, the Isabella County Sheriff’s Department, swat teams, a helicopter, K-9 units and agencies surrounding Mt. Pleasant, including personnel from the Clare County Sheriff’s Department and Clare City Police, assisted in the search.

Friday afternoon, CMU Police Lt. Larry Kraus reported that more than 100 law enforcement personnel from area agencies were searching for the suspect north of the campus.

A Friday afternoon press conference said students from the CMU Towers complex were being removed and transported to the Comfort Inn where families were waiting. Because the campus was locked down, parents arriving at the campus to pick up students for spring break were being redirected to the Comfort Inn at 2424 S. Mission Street where university staff were on site to support the families.

A tip from a railroad employee who spotted the 19-year-old CMU sophomore just after midnight led police to a road adjacent to the railroad tracks near Bellows, where the man was arrested without incident, CMU Police Chief William Yeagley said in a Saturday morning press conference.

The Chief said the CMU Police had never had a problem with Davis prior to Thursday evening, when officers responded to an incoherent claim he made that “someone was out to get him.” He said officers investigated and interviewed a person Davis Jr. had claimed threatened him but “found no risk.”

Around 1:15 a.m. Saturday morning, Yeagley said, officers in the building for another complaint saw him putting suitcases in the hall. They questioned him and found he was incoherent. They believed he was under the influence of drugs and transported him to an area hospital, where he was asked to call his parents. After Davis Jr. and the officers talked to his parents they left to come to Mt. Pleasant.

CMU Police Chief Yeagley said Davis, Jr. was released from the hospital Friday morning and went with his parents back to his dorm room where they were packing belongings up in preparation to leave for spring break. No information was available why the teen shot his parents.

Davis Jr. was seen walking back into Campbell Hall with a gun by a witness. A video confirmed that he entered the building with a gun, the Chief said.

That gun, which was his father’s service revolver, was identified as the murder weapon and found in the room later by police.

Yeagley said Davis Jr. was currently lodged at the Isabella County Jail and had not been interviewed. He said he didn’t know how Davis Jr. had eluded the manhunt north of the campus for him, if he had left the area and returned or had been hidden during the search.

He said the investigation into the murders was not over.

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