A Texas Tech University student accused of killing a campus police officer was searched at some point before he pulled a gun while being booked on a drug charge at the police station, authorities said Thursday.
Lubbock police Chief Greg Stevens said during a news conference that Hollis Daniels III was searched after campus police officer Floyd East Jr. went to his dorm room Monday to check on his welfare, but he didn’t say whether the search occurred before or after East brought Daniels to the campus police station.
“He was searched during his time in custody but unfortunately he was able to gain access to a weapon,” Stevens said.
Daniels, 19, wasn’t in handcuffs while East was booking him on the drug possession charge. Authorities say Daniels pulled a handgun and fatally shot East before fleeing. He was captured within two hours and is charged with capital murder. He’s being held on a $5 million bond.
Online jail records don’t indicate whether Daniels has an attorney who can speak on his behalf. Messages left for his family in Seguin, near San Antonio, were not immediately returned.
Police also said Thursday that officers stopped Daniels’ car on Sunday — a day before the shooting — because it matched the description of one driven by someone suspected of stealing a gun from a Lubbock home that day.
Police spokeswoman Kasie Whitley said Daniels had threatened someone at the home, but neither she nor Stevens would say whether Daniels is also suspected in that gun theft. Daniels was charged Wednesday in federal court on a count of possession of a stolen firearm. The indictment describes the firearm as a .45, which is the same caliber used in the shooting of East.
The officers who stopped Daniels’ car didn’t have probable cause or his permission to search the vehicle and he was allowed to drive off.
Meanwhile, school officials said Thursday that they’ll conduct a review of Monday’s events in the hopes of improving safety and security at the campus in Lubbock, which is 300 miles west of Dallas.
“In light of the tragic loss of life that we have experienced, it is appropriate that we conduct a post-event review process that will include a thorough review of our policies and practices to enhance the safety and security of our students, our police and the entire campus community,” university President Lawrence Schovanec said in a news release.
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