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Shooting at CMU: "The hurting will go on for a while"

Mar 2, 2018

19-year-old James Eric Davis Jr
Credit Central Michigan University

“This has been a tragic day at Central Michigan University.”

That’s how CMU President George Ross summed up day of violence, fear and confusion on the mid-Michigan college campus. 

The search continues for a 19-year-old Central Michigan University student who allegedly shot and killed two people at his residence hall this morning.

CMU sophomore James Eric Davis has been named as the suspect in the shooting. 

The CMU Police Department has identified the victims in this morning's campus shooting as James Eric Davis, Sr., and Diva Jeneen Davis, both 47 years old. The victims are the father and mother of the suspect, who remains at large. Davis Sr. was a suburban Chicago police officer

The motive for the shooting is not known. But CMU police Lt. Larry Klaus says campus police officers transferred Davis to a hospital last night for “what the officers believed to be a drug-related incident … an overdose or bad reaction to drugs.”

More than 100 law enforcement officers have spent the day scouring the university campus and the city of Mt. Pleasant. But the manhunt has yet to find Davis. Authorities describe Davis as “armed and dangerous.”

Central Michigan University has approximately 23,000 students. However, many had already left Mt. Pleasant to begin their spring break. 

Students, faculty and staff who remained on campus were told to shelter in place immediately after the shooting. The Mt. Pleasant campus was on lockdown most of the day. Parents and others who came to campus to pick up students for spring break found themselves waiting at a local hotel. By 4 p.m., the lockdown was being eased, with students allowed to leave buildings on campus and re-enter their dorms.

The fourth floor of Campbell Hall remains on lockdown, as police continue their investigation into the fatal shooting.  

"The hurting will go on for a while," says CMU president George Ross.
Credit steve carmody / Michigan Radio

While the search for James Eric Davis continues, CMU president George Ross is also focusing on the effect this incident is having on the university and surrounding community.

"When today's gone and the cameras aren't here anymore, there will be students on our campus, and faculty and staff members, suffering from the incident that happened today,” Ross said at a news conference, where he was flanked by law enforcement and Gov. Rick Snyder.

Snyder also stressed the need to help the students affected by the shooting.

"This isn't just about what happens today or what happens through this process,” says Snyder. “We need to be there to support, particularly the students, on through the end of the school year ... whatever they need to deal with this traumatic event."

The university has canceled classes scheduled for Saturday.