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Campbell Hall residents describe hearing March 2 fatal shooting


Campbell Hall sits on the campus of Central Michigan University on March 2 at CMU

Detroit junior Leron Stafford was sleeping in his Campbell Hall dorm room on the morning of March 2, ready to leave for Spring Break.

Then he heard "two bangs."

“I was sleeping at the time," Stafford said. "I woke up because I heard something.”

Stafford, who lives on the fifth floor of Campbell Hall, said the gunshots sounded like they came from below him. Police confirmed two people died in a shooting in the residence hall that morning.

Stafford received a Central Alert that there was a shooting at his residence hall and the suspect was still at-large.

“I got up, locked my door, checked my roommate — I wanted to make sure he was in there," Stafford said. "He had just got the message too. He didn’t hear the shots, though.”

As he and his roommate were packing for spring break, Stafford said someone came knocking on doors. 

"We didn’t open the doors,” he said. "We (weren’t) too sure to open the doors. We heard too many knocks on too many doors. It could’ve been the shooter.”

Dansville sophomore Hunter McLaren, a Central Michigan Life staff reporter, lives on the fourth floor of Campbell Hall.  

McLaren and his roommates were sleeping in their dorm room, Campbell Hall room 409, when the shots were fired. McLaren woke up to the automatic alert system phone call from CMU police. 

He then knocked on his roommate, Lake Orion sophomore Matt Aiello's, door to check if he had received the same message. McLaren locked their door right away. A second later, he heard police moving through the hallway.

"When I first heard it, I was shocked," Aiello said. "It was scary to hear ‘Campbell’ and then ‘fourth floor.’"

For the next 90 minutes, Michigan State Police came through the hall and took everyone’s names. 

Aiello said the reality of the shooting began to set in when the cops came into their room, gave them a rundown of what was happening and notified them police and Emergency Medical Technicians would be running through the halls. 

The dorm residents were told to stay put and keep their doors locked.

Just before 2 p.m., police went room to room escorting groups of students outside or into the Residence Complex lobby (known as The Towers) to either get food or to go to their vehicles, Aiello said. 

"It makes me feel better that they have the whole Towers under control," he said.

Local police are looking for suspect James Eric Davis, a 19-year-old, black man, 5-feet-10-inches tall and  weighing 135 pounds. Police say he was last seen wearing yellow jeans and a blue hoodie, although he may have removed the blue hoodie, according to police.

Police say he is considered armed and dangerous and advice anyone who sees him to not approach the suspect and call 911 immediately.