DETROIT — A suburban Chicago couple whose 19-year-old son allegedly shot them to death at his college dormitory in Michigan raised him and their two other children well, a family friend said Sunday.
James Eric Davis Sr. — who went by his middle name — and his wife, Diva, were “doting parents” and raised James Eric Davis’ Jr. “phenomenally,” said Jordan Murphy, who worked from 2004 to 2008 with Davis Sr. in Chicago as Illinois Army National Guard recruiters.
The parents were slain Friday morning in Davis Jr.’s Campbell Hall room at Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant. Davis Jr. fled and was arrested Saturday morning. He faces murder and gun charges.
“I’ve known him since he was 4 or 5,” Murphy said of Davis Jr. “From knowing the family … something out-of-character occurred. Something external affected the situation that caused this unfortunate tragedy to occur.”
Davis Jr.’s parents had just picked him up from a hospital, where he was brought for suspected drug abuse a day earlier after campus police officers said he was acting erratically, university police Chief Bill Yeagley has said. They took him to his dorm to pack up for spring break when they were shot with a gun that belonged to Davis Sr.
Authorities have not said whether drugs were found in Davis Jr.’s system.
The family is from Plainfield, Illinois. Davis Sr. was a part-time police officer in Bellwood, Illinois. He also had been a longtime member of the Illinois Army National Guard, serving in the Iraq War.
Murphy, 41, said the couple has an older son and younger daughter. They were “loving, ever-present doting parents” to the children, he added.
“They couldn’t brag on their children enough,” he said. “This was a nuclear family — mother and father together, raising their children with values.”
Murphy said his family lived within 2 miles of the Davis family in Plainfield before relocating to Florida.
“Junior is a good kid. He’s a great young man,” Murphy said of Davis Jr. “He’s the kind of young man who would hold the door and step aside for adults.”
Davis Jr. was taken to a hospital after his arrest and was expected to be moved to a jail once he’s discharged. It was not immediately clear Sunday when he would make his first court appearance.
Central Michigan’s campus is in Mount Pleasant, about 155 miles northwest of Detroit.
The campus was on lockdown Friday and officials canceled events and activities that evening.
The school is on “spring break all of this week so classes will resume as scheduled” on March 12, university spokeswoman Heather Smith said Sunday. “Other university operations will resume as normal (Monday) morning.”
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