Po­lice: Texas Tech stu­dent ques­tioned hours be­fore shoot­ing

Texarkana Gazette - - MORE METRO/STATE ON PAGE 6C | METRO/STATE - By Clau­dia Lauer and David War­ren

DAL­LAS—Lub­bock po­lice of­fi­cers ques­tioned a Texas Tech Uni­ver­sity stu­dent about a stolen gun hours be­fore he shot and killed a cam­pus po­lice of­fi­cer, au­thor­i­ties said Thurs­day.

Hol­lis Daniels III was driv­ing a car that matched the de­scrip­tion of one driven by a per­son sus­pected of steal­ing a gun Sun­day evening from a Lub­bock home, city po­lice Chief Greg Stevens said at a news con­fer­ence. He said Daniels, 19, ap­par­ently threat­ened some­one at the home, but he de­clined to say whether Daniels is sus­pected of steal­ing that gun.

The of­fi­cers who stopped Daniels’ car later let him drive off be­cause they didn’t have prob­a­ble cause or Daniels’ per­mis­sion to search his car, Stevens said.

“Ul­ti­mately, it would have been un­con­sti­tu­tional for the of­fi­cers to search the ve­hi­cle,” he said.

On Mon­day night, cam­pus po­lice of­fi­cer Floyd East Jr. went to check on Daniels be­cause there had been re­ports of a man act­ing er­rat­i­cally who may be armed. While there, he found drugs and drug para­pher­na­lia, and he ar­rested Daniels for pos­ses­sion and took him to the sta­tion, au­thor­i­ties say.

Stevens said Daniels was searched, but he de­clined to say whether it was be­fore or af­ter he and East left for the sta­tion.

“He was searched dur­ing his time in cus­tody but un­for­tu­nately he was able to gain ac­cess to a weapon,” Stevens said.

While East was book­ing Daniels, who wasn’t hand­cuffed, Daniels pulled a gun and shot him be­fore flee­ing. He was cap­tured within two hours and is charged with cap­i­tal mur­der of a peace of­fi­cer. He’s be­ing held on $5 mil­lion bond. Court records don’t in­di­cate whether Daniels has an at­tor­ney, and his fam­ily in Seguin, near San An­to­nio, hasn’t replied to phone mes­sages seek­ing com­ment.

In ad­di­tion to the state mur­der charge, Daniels was charged Wed­nes­day with a fed­eral count of pos­ses­sion of a stolen firearm. The in­dict­ment de­scribes the gun as a .45, which is the same cal­iber used in the shoot­ing of East.

School of­fi­cials said Thurs­day that they’ll con­duct an ex­ter­nal re­view of po­lice pro­ce­dures af­ter Mon­day’s events in the hopes of im­prov­ing safety and se­cu­rity at the cam­pus in Lub­bock, which is 300 miles west of Dal­las.

It took about 35 min­utes from the time uni­ver­sity of­fi­cials called the city po­lice for an alert to be sent to stu­dents and fac­ulty warn­ing them that an armed sus­pect was on the loose.

Uni­ver­sity of­fi­cials told the Lub­bock Avalanche-Jour­nal that the de­lay hap­pened be­cause the po­lice sta­tion where the ini­tial stu­dent alert would nor­mally be gen­er­ated had be­come a crime scene.

East, 48, was mar­ried with two daugh­ters. His fam­ily lives in El Paso, which is about 290 miles south­west of Lub­bock, and he was about to trans­fer to pa­trol uni­ver­sity prop­erty there, Stevens said.

“Of­fi­cer East was a fine man do­ing very hon­or­able work,” he said.

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