A gunman who shot two people in the dormitories of Central Michigan University is still on the run.
Law enforcement confirmed they were searching for a suspect following a daylight murder on Friday. Described as “armed and dangerous,” police have named 19-year old student James Eric Davis as the “person of interest” in what is now and ongoing investigation.
On Thursday, Davis was purportedly apprehended by university officers and taken to a local hospital for a drug-related matter. Released early in the morning, the student returned to his dormitory.
When his parents arrived to pick up for the beginning of spring break, Davis produced a firearm and started shooting.
“We believe this situation was a domestic-type incident,” said Lt. Larry Klaus of the Central Michigan University police department. “He was last seen running in a northbound direction.”
“We believe the subject is in the city limits now,” added Krauss, urging members of the community to exercise caution. Area schools were placed on lockdown, with some parents taking their children home early. Some businesses, including the Target store in Mt. Pleasant, MI, shut down for the day.
Shootings, say residents of the small mid-Michigan city, aren’t commonplace in Mt. Pleasant.
“This young man, who is obviously troubled, killed his parents, and that’s very said,” said businesswoman and bar owner Cheryl Hunter.
The double-homicide came less than a month after one of the worst school shootings since Columbine. On Valentine’s Day, another 19-year old opened fire on his former classmates in Parkland, FL, killing 17 and wounding over a dozen others.
Investigators are hard-pressed for more information. NBC News indicates there’s uncertainty over whether Davis was ever admitted to an area hospital or not. While police say they responded to a call and talk Davis for treatment, several facilities denied admitting him – suggesting he may have only received cursory care or simply walked out of an emergency room of his own accord.
One of the victims – Davis’ father, James Davis, Sr. – was a part-time police officer at the Bellwood Police Department in Illinois. Media sources raised the possibility of the younger Davis having obtained his father’s law enforcement-issued firearm.
Either way, said Lt. Klaus, CMU is supposed to be a “gun-free zone.”
However, dormitories are not equipped with metal detectors or other invasive security measures.
Until James Davis, Jr., can be found, city officials are asking residents to stay home and stay aware.
“The big thing that we want everybody to remember is that our community is safe,” said Police Public Information Officer Jeff Browne. “We don’t have many incidents like this, and it’s something that we have a lot of individuals out working very hard to apprehend this individual , so there’s no reason for […] mass panic, I guess, is what I wanna say.”
Due to political pressure on legislators and Washington over firearms violence, President Donald Trump was informed of the shooting shortly after the news broke.
Trump, along with several other high-profile Republicans, including Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, has asked for stricter laws on gun control. Both men have lent their support – for the time being – to raise the legal age to purchase a firearm from 18 to 21.