A 19-year-old student fatally shot a Texas Tech University police officer Monday night after police brought him in for questioning, according to police, and a warrant was issued for Hollis Daniels for capital murder.
University officials said police did a welfare check on the student after a roommate reported erratic behavior and said he might be armed. The officers noticed drugs and drug paraphernalia in the room, and when he returned to the room, they brought him to the Texas Tech police station.
During that debriefing, the student pulled out a handgun and fatally wounded an officer before fleeing on foot, Texas Tech spokesman Chris Cook said.
On Tuesday afternoon, the university’s president, Lawrence Schovanec, said he wanted to convey heartfelt condolences to Officer Floyd East Jr.’s wife and two daughters, and assure them that they were in their prayers. The campus prepared memorials to honor his service.
On campus and far beyond it, people mourned the loss.
A campus spirit group that has a tradition of wrapping a statue in red crepe paper before games gathered Monday night to wrap it in black and blue crepe paper. “We wanted to show our support for the Texas Tech Police Department, and to honor Officer East, to let his department and his family know the students support them,” said Zachary Williams, a senior from El Paso who is president of the Saddle Tramps group.
He said people had been pausing at the shrouded statue all day, some leaving bouquets, some just standing and taking a moment.
Many planned to go to memorial gatherings and prayers on campus Tuesday evening.
Many law-enforcement agencies and officers spoke out to honor him, as well.
“It’s tough,” said Kyle Jacobson, a graduate student and alumnus of Texas Tech, to see another police officer killed. “We’ve seen it happen across the country, but when it happens in your own back yard it’s pretty tough. He signed up to do a job that would serve the people of this community every day.” Jacobson hoped to raise money for the family with an online fundraising campaign Tuesday.
The school locked down shortly before 8:30 p.m. local time Monday with a warning that there had been a shooting and that the suspect was at large.
A little more than an hour later, Daniels was apprehended, and the lockdown at the public research university in Lubbock, with about 37,000 students, was lifted.
Officials are investigating whether the gun was owned by Daniels, Cpl. Patricia Holbert of the Lubbock County Sheriff’s Office said Tuesday morning.
Daniels was at the Lubbock County Jail on Tuesday.
“Our hearts go out to the family of the police officer killed at Texas Tech University,” Gov. Greg Abbott (R) said in a statement Monday night. “As the Texas Tech campus deals with this heartbreaking tragedy, Cecilia and I pray for the continued safety of the students and the entire community.”
The university’s president expressed condolences Monday night as well, thanking all the law enforcement agencies that responded and reminding students and employees of counseling services available.