How the search for accused Central Michigan University murder suspect played out

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MOUNT PLEASANT (WJRT) (3/2/2018) - More than 100 law enforcement officials from local, state and federal agencies were working together Friday to catch the man accused of a double murder at Central Michigan University.

Police were looking for 19-year-old James Eric Davis Jr. on several fronts hours after the shooting was reported around 9 a.m. Friday morning in Campbell Hall, which is part of the Towers residence hall complex.

Witnesses quickly gave police a detailed description of Davis, who was last seen wearing mustard colored pants and a blue hoodie. He may have ditched the hoodie while fleeing on foot.

He is a 19-year-old black male who is approximately 5-foot-10 and 135 pounds.

Surveillance cameras captured footage of Davis running out of an exit on the north side of Campbell Hall and then running toward a set of railroad tracks on the west side of the campus.

Police immediately attempted to track Davis down the railroad tracks. They found a blue hoodie discarded along the way, which they believe he had taken off while fleeing.

Davis was able to elude authorities and disappeared minutes after the shootings in the area of Maple and Cherry streets.

Authorities set up a massive manhunt covering much of the neighborhood north of Central Michigan's campus and along the railroad tracks on the west side of campus.

K-9 teams from the Michigan State Police attempted find Davis' track along the road railroad tracks and into a wooded area nearby. At the same time, a Michigan State Police helicopter circled overhead for hours looking for a trace of Davis.

Police tactical teams went door to door through residential areas around campus. They could be heard shouting into homes asking if Davis was inside and seen entering some homes to conduct a search.

While the search was under way, police advised everyone in Mount Pleasant to remain indoors and only go outside if it was absolutely necessary.

The entire Central Michigan University campus was placed on a hard lockdown. Staff and students were not allowed to leave the rooms they were in when the lockdown started until mid-afternoon.

Police started going building by building, room by room letting people leave one by one.

Davis remained on the loose Friday evening. Police advised anyone who sees him to call 911 immediately and not attempt to talk with him.

Mount Pleasant residents should make sure to lock the doors of their homes, outbuildings, garages and vehicles.

Police were planning to continue door to door checks in the neighborhood of Maple and Cherry streets until dusk on Friday. Michigan State Police helicopters will be searching overhead for much of the night.

ABC12 Chief Meteorologist JR Kirtek said chilly temperatures on Friday definitely would help searchers using infrared and thermal imaging equipment will make their jobs easier.

Davis' thermal signature would be easily detectable against other objects, which also would be cold.

"If he's out there and not in a shelter, they might be able spot him pretty easily," Kirtek said.


Police in tactical gear search for James Eric Davis Jr. in a neighborhood near High Street in Mount Pleasant after a double murder on the campus of Central Michigan University.


 
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