AUSTIN, Texas – James Eppler was in the middle of class when he got the Texas Tech campus lockdown alert.
Not knowing what exactly was going on, he and his students, erred on the side of caution.
“We turned off the lights, hunkered down and we just tried to stay safe,” said James Eppler, student.
It was not an active shooter situation, but still a tragedy. Authorities said Texas Tech police officers were conducting a welfare check in 19-year-old Hollis Daniels’ dorm room.
They arrested him for possession of a controlled substance. Once they got to the police department and began booking, that’s when things turned deadly.
“During this time, the student pulled a gun and fatally shot officer Floyd East,” said Chief Kyle Bonath, Texas Tech Police Department.
Daniels, who was not wearing handcuffs, fled but was found and taken into custody.
“It was a good hour and half or so when were told to shelter in place until the time the all clear was given,” said Eppler.
East had only been working for the campus police department for five months, but will be greatly missed.
“Officer East was employed by Texas Tech University from December 1, 2014. He served as a Texas Tech guard in the El Paso office, until he was hired as a Texas Tech police officer on May 1, 2017,” said Bonath.
It may have happened in Lubbock, but the law enforcement community across Texas, is in mourning. When asked about their procedures, the University of Texas police Department released this statement in full that reads:
“Our hearts go out to our fellow officers and the entire community at Texas Tech. With any tragedy involving law enforcement, the University of Texas at Austin police reviews procedures and adjusts as necessary. The safety of our staff, faculty and students is our first concern. In order to protect that safety, we are unable to discuss our specific preparations we make for emergency situations.”
“The sadness and the tragedy of a moment like this is made more bearable by the love and the care that our students, our staff and faculty have shown to the family about officer east, to our police and to one another,” said Lawrence Shovanec, Texas Tech President.
Daniels sits in custody and is charged with capital murder.
When investigators found his body, east had a.45 caliber shell casing near his body. His body camera was also missing. The officer’s gun was in his holster.