The Texas Democratic Party apologized on Tuesday for a tweet it posted after a fatal shooting at Texas Tech University.
As news broke Monday night that a 19-year-old student had allegedly shot and killed a Texas Tech University police officer, the Austin-based organization posted the following tweet on its official account:
The Texas Democrats’ tweet quickly came under sharp criticism.
Stuart Williams, chairman of the Lubbock County Democratic Party, wrote that it was not the time to talk politics.
Other critics noted that concealed carry permit holders must be 21 or older, and the suspected shooter, Hollis Daniels, is 19.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, Manny Garcia, deputy executive director of the Texas Democratic Party, apologized for the tweet, which has been deleted.
“Our words were inadequate, hurried, and we apologize,” said Garcia.
Daniels, who has been charged with capital murder of a peace officer and held on $5 million bond, confessed to killing campus police officer Floyd East Jr., according to officials. 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.
According to an affidavit released Tuesday, Daniels was not handcuffed while East was completing paperwork in the briefing room. Another officer left the room, and shortly afterward heard a bang. When the officer returned to the briefing room, he found East with a gunshot wound and Daniels gone. East’s body camera was missing, and his pistol was in his holster, according to the affidavit.
Daniels was recaptured a little more than an hour later. Also located were a loaded pistol and a police body camera, says the affidavit.
Officials are investigating whether the gun used to shoot East was owned by Daniels, Cpl. Patricia Holbert of the Lubbock County Sheriff’s Office said Tuesday morning.
Texas is one of 10 states that allow guns on campus at public universities.
Last August, Senate Bill 11, known as the “campus carry” law, took effect, allowing anyone in the state with a license to carry to bring concealed handguns into most buildings on college campuses.
In response to the law, three professors at the University of Texas at Austin sued their school and the state, claiming that the new campus carry law was unconstitutional and violated academic freedom. Hundreds of students at the school also protested the new law. Gun rights advocates, meanwhile, were upset that some campuses would ban guns in dormitories, with Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton arguing that such bans would violate the law.
This August, community colleges in Texas also began allowing concealed handguns on campus.
In the year or so since Texas first allowed guns on campus, many university officials across the state have said that the law has not caused any problems.
“Amazingly quiet,” Texas Tech University President Lawrence Schovanec told the Texas Tribune.
Susan Svrluga contributed to this report.