Parents await children at Comfort Inn after CMU shooting

Comfort Inn parking lot. March 2.

Parents waiting for their children at an evacuation point struggled to answer questions about what was happening after a March 2 shooting.

James Eric Davis, Jr., a Plainfield, Illinois sophomore, is believed by police to have shot and killed his parents Diva and James Eric Davis, Sr. early in the morning of March 2, on the fourth floor of Campbell Hall. Police apprehended Davis, Jr. shortly after midnight on March 3.

Most parents were getting information from their children, locked inside their residence halls for most of the day. The fourth floor of Campbell Hall was on lockdown until 2 p.m., as it was considered a crime scene.

"I cannot believe it," said Bettie Hilliker, a parent whose daughter was told to stay locked in her dorm room.

Central Michigan University Communications told parents who were coming to pick up students before spring break to stay away from campus. Parents were advised to go to Comfort Inn on 2424 South Mission Street and wait for their sons and daughters to arrive. 

While parents waited in the hotel lobby and conference rooms, police and security circled the building and directed traffic. University officials told emotional parents that students were being cleared from residence halls and bussed to the hotel. 

Initially, two buses were bringing students to the hotel after collecting them from dorm rooms. As of 4:36 p.m., a university official at Comfort Inn confirmed seven buses were transferring students. 

March 2 was the last day of classes before spring break at CMU. Some parents at the hotel were already on their way to the university to pick up their children for spring break. Other parents left work early to get on campus as quickly as possible after hearing about the shooting. 

Dan Konen, a parent from Shelby Township, was going to pick up his daughter Kayla yesterday, but decided to wait until today. 

He said the drive was "a lot faster today." 

"We had that storm last night so I decided to put it off for a day," Dan said. "I was supposed to come later tonight, but when we heard the news we jumped in the car."

Dan and his wife Bridgett later left the hotel to pick up their daughter from Trout Hall. Bridgett said Kayla told her students were allowed to leave the residence halls, but it was not recommended. 

Many parents said their children were hungry, since some of the cafeterias closed and other students were told to stay in their rooms. 

"I think some of the residence halls are reopening their cafeterias now," Hilliker said.

Fresh Food Company was reopened for students around 12:30 p.m. and closed around 6:15 p.m.