Floyd East Jr., a married father of two, was identified as the Texas Tech University police officer who was gunned down, allegedly by a student, at police headquarters during a drug investigation.
Hollis Daniels, a 19-year-old student at the university, who hails from a long line of theater owners in Seguin, Texas, was accused of slaying the officer as he debriefed Daniels in the drug inquiry, the university confirmed.
Officer East was 48-years-old and originally from El Paso. KSAT-TV reported that East is survived by his wife, Carmen, and two daughters, Anna and Monica.
Daniels, who went by the name “Reid,” was a communications arts student, according to his Facebook page. He was taken into custody around 9:30 p.m. on October 9 after fleeing on foot. The shooting caused panic throughout the campus, which was locked down while Daniels was briefly at large. His father is a former city councilman from a family with long roots in the small community of Seguin.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The Officer Was Sitting at a Computer When He Was Shot, a Warrant Says & a Large Crowd Gathered for a Memorial to Honor Him After His Death
As the campus comes to grips with the tragedy, a memorial was held to honor the officer’s life. The campus newspaper captured part of the memorial on live Facebook video.
Hundreds attended the vigil.
Students wrote notes for Officer East’s family.
Campus communication officials have provided a rundown of the incident. They say that it started when the Texas Tech police officer made a student welfare check. According to Fox News, “Before he was located by police, police said Daniels’ family called the campus counseling center expressing concern that the suspect was making comments about suicide and possibly had a weapon.”
Upon entering the room, officers allegedly “found evidence of drugs and drug paraphernalia,” the university said in a statement.
Officers brought the suspect to the police station for standard debriefing. “During this time, the suspect pulled a gun and shot an officer in the head. The officer is deceased. The suspect fled on foot and is currently still at large. Texas Tech University campus is on lockdown,” said the statement from Texas Tech campus PR.
According to Lubbock Online, “It is unclear if Daniels had the weapon on him upon entering the campus police station.” The newspaper reported that Daniels lived on campus.
Everything Lubbock.com obtained a warrant in the case that provides further details. The news site initially redacted the slain police officer’s name because it had not yet been released by authorities on October 10. The warrant says that Daniels was arrested by the officer “for possession of a control substance. Officer East transported Hollis Daniels to the Texas Tech Police Department where Officer East was completing booking paperwork for Hollis Daniels arrest.”
At that time, another officer reported that “Officer East was completing paperwork at the computers in the briefing room. Corporal Snelson observed Officer East facing the computers while Hollis Daniels was facing in the opposite direction. Officer East and Hollis Daniels were slightly offset from each other. At the time Hollis Daniels was not wearing handcuffs. Corporal Snelson left the briefing room and went to an office nearby.”
Shortly after, Corporal Snelson “heard a bang from the briefing room. Corporal Snelson went back into the briefing where he saw Officer East with an apparent gunshot wound. Hollis Daniels was no longer in the room, A .45 caliber shall casing was located near Officer East, Corporal Snelson also advised Officer East’s police body camera was missing and Officer East’s pistol was In his holster,” the warrant read, according to Everything Lubbock.com.
There is a GoFundMe site to benefit Officer East’s family.
2. Officer East Used to Work as a Security Guard & Touted His ‘Ability to Deal Calmly With the General Public’
According to Fox News, Floyd East Jr. “had worked at the university for nearly three years, first as a security guard in the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in El Paso, Texas, Bonath said. He was later hired as a Texas Tech police officer on May 1 in Lubbock, Texas.” He was married with two children, according to Fox.
On LinkedIn, he wrote of his work at Texas Tech that he had the following skills:
“• Dispatch Police offices/guards in reference to EMS, Traffic stops, fire calls, theft, or any general emergency
• Working knowledge of campus policies, rules and regulations.
• Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
• Perform system administration security and fire systems and CCTV screens.
• Occasional Duties Provide or assist in training of new guard employees. Provide crowd control and provide personal safety security at athletic events, university functions, graduations, etc. for staff, employees and visitors. Provide security of crime scenes when needed. Perform other duties as assigned.
• Required Qualifications Proficiency in written and mathematical processes as may be reflected by the completion of the tenth grade plus one year of security, customer service, public relations or related experience.
• Preferred Qualifications Ability to establish and maintain effective work relationships with other employees and the public.
• The ability to speak clearly and concisely.
• Ability to deal calmly with the general public.
Knowledge of names and locations of parking lots and buildings on campus.”
He had previously worked as a passenger service agent for Air Wisconsin Airlines Corporation; as a manager at Academy Sports & Outdoors; as a Senior Team Lead at Target; and as co-owner of Anchor Investigations in San Antonio, a private investigation agency.
He described his education as “Western Technical College. Degree Name Associate of Science (A.S.). Field Of Study Micro Computer. Grade 3.66. Dates attended or expected graduation 1999 – 2001.”
Online arrest records showed that Daniels was allegedly arrested by Texas Tech campus police in September 2016. Drugs were also the accusation at that time. However, it’s not clear whether he had ever had previous contact with the slain police officer.
Full Name: Hollis Alvin Daniels
Time: 9:29 PM
Arresting Agency: TTPD
The alleged offenses were drug possession and possession of drug paraphernalia. It’s not clear how the case was resolved. Some local news sites reported that Daniels was a freshman, although this could not be confirmed in light of the 2016 campus police arrest.
Here is the pertinent segment of the campus police report on the prior incident:
Daniels’ mugshot was also taken in another jurisdiction for a traffic offense.
3. Officer East Was a Community Volunteer Who Went ‘Anywhere They Needed Me’
On LinkedIn, East wrote that he had previously helped children through volunteer work with an organization named Candle Lighters.
“Anywhere they needed me, from manning a booth at a fundraiser to directing traffic at the parade of homes. Filling sand for the luminaries, running carnival games at the civic center. I would go anywhere they wanted or needed me,” he wrote.
Daniels was arrested a short time after the slaying on the evening of October 9. When arrested, “a .45 caliber pistol loaded with RP ammunition was located where Hollis Daniels was arrested. A police body camera was also located near where Hollis Daniels was arrested. Hollis Daniels stated to officers that he was the one that shot their friend,” the warrant obtained by Everything Lubbock alleges.
Daniels, who has been charged with capital murder, allegedly confessed to the slaying once caught, telling police he “f****d up” and did “something illogical,” according to a warrant obtained by Everything Lubbock.com.
It was a chaotic night on campus.
At 8:50 p.m., the university said in an update that the situation remained ongoing: “Update: 8:50 p.m. 10/9/17. This is an update from Texas Tech University. The current situation is ongoing. Continue to shelter in place. We will provide more information as it becomes available. More information at emergency.ttu.edu.” At 9:20 p.m., the university reported, “Campus remains on lockdown. Police Officers brought suspect to station for debriefing. Suspect shot an officer, fled on foot. Still at-large.” However, a short time later came the news that Hollis A. Daniels was in custody, and the lock down was lifted.
Texas Tech later gave the “all clear.” Lubbock police said that Daniels was apprehended when a “Texas Tech Officer was able to tackle the suspect as he fled & took him into custody. LPD officers were close behind & assisted.”
Video showed Daniels being taken into custody:
According to online records, Daniels is from Seguin, Texas, which is located six and a half hours south of Lubbock, near San Antonio. Social media reports flooded in of a possible “active shooter,” but no one else was shot. The identity of the slain officer has not yet been released.
4. Students Were Told to Take Shelter & The Suspect’s Family Runs a Series of Movie Theaters
Students were advised to take shelter as the gunman was at loose for some time.
Texas Tech released an emergency alert via its website early on. It read, “This is an emergency notification from Texas Tech University. A shooting has been reported at the Texas Tech Police Department. At this time, the shooter is still at large. The campus is on lockdown. Take shelter in a safe location. Additional information to come. For more information go to emergency.ttu.edu.”
Daniels is the son of a former Seguin city councilman whose family has owned movie theaters in Texas for decades.
A birth announcement for the suspect in the Seguin Gazette-Enterprise said that “Seguin City Councilman H. A. ‘Danny’ Daniels and his wife, Janis Turk Daniels announce the birth of their son, Hollis Alvin James Reid Daniels, HI, born at Guadalupe Valley Hospital on July 23, 1998.” The child was called “Reid,” the newspaper reported.
An obituary for a theater employee reported that the Daniels family theater properties dated back at least to the 1960s. It said that the employee had worked for Mr. H.A. “Windy” Daniels and his wife, Maxie, of Seguin Theatres Inc., “working at the Palace Theatre, The Texas Theatre, the Dixie-Drive Inn, and other Daniels theaters and properties in South Texas.” The obituary reported that Danny Daniels, Hollis’ father, was the son of H.A. and Maxie Daniels.
The book Haunted Seguin traces the history of the theater family back to the 1890s. In 1890, came the birth of what the book calls a “remarkable entrepreneur named Hollis Alvin Ward ‘Windy’ Daniel (who later added an ‘s’ to his name to become Daniels.)”
According to the book, the Daniels’ ancestor was known for his “quick and raging temper” but also for being generous and warm-hearted. He was fascinated by vaudeville, and eventually started buying numerous theaters throughout Texas. The Daniels family owned Seguin’s “distinguished Texas Theatre,” which the book said was later called the Stephen and Mary Birch Texas Theater, for over 60 years.
They sold it in the 1990s for “a small sum to the Conservation Society to ensure that the theater would be preserved as a special Seguin landmark for the community to enjoy,” the book reports, adding that the family also “delved into the oil-well business and even a gambling place called the Spider House.” Mary Pickford and her husband Douglas Fairbanks wanted the Daniels ancestor to come work for them, but he declined, according to the book, which alleges that a ghostly apparition has been spotted on a theater property.
It was a very frightening scene at Texas Tech as reports came in of the SWAT team looking for the gunman on campus. It was not clear whether he had left the campus grounds or not for some time, although by some reports he fled in a BMW. However, he was eventually captured without further incident.
5. Daniels Studied Communication Arts at Texas Tech, His Facebook Page Says & He Wrote ‘My Every Move is a Calculated Step’ on Instagram
Hollis Daniels’ Facebook page is in a different name. It says that he was Co-Manager at The Palace Theatre and “Studies Communication Arts – Radio, TV, Mass Media Studies at Texas Tech University.”
The page says that he went to Seguin High School and New Braunfels Christian Academy and was from Seguin, Texas. The photos on it show him to be somewhat younger.
“Will Smith. Change the World,” reads the graphic he used as his cover photo.
His Instagram profile reads, “May the best of your today be the worst of your tomorrow, but we aint even thinkin that far ahead… TTU.”
In one post, he wrote, “Why God, why God do I gotta suffer?”
Other recent captions on his Instagram page say things like this (some dating back several months):
“My every move is a calculated step.”
“Recollect your thoughts, dont get caught up in the mix because the media is full of dirty tricks and only God can judge me..”
“In a daze cuz I found God…”
“God bless America, you know we all love it..”
“Happy Father’s Day Pops.”
“‘Drink a lot of soda so they call me Dr. Pepper’ – Phife.”
“Beasts are not burdened by the pain of man.”
“I ain’t really that good at goodbyes; I ain’t really that bad at leaving..”
“Psst, imma make millions.”
“Maybe if I could live hundred years that’d be real…”
On a picture with his mother, “I appreciate how you raised me, and all the extra love that you gave me.”
“Word to Christ, a disciple of streets..”
His visible Facebook posts date back several years. For example, one in 2012 read, “Minecraft update is out for xbox. No life here I come.” And: “Going to county fair now. Left school early.”
The governor released a statement offering condolences.
Demonstrating how frightening the situation was for parents and students alike as it unfolded in a fast-paced manner, one woman wrote on Twitter, “Praying my son is safe 🙏🏼,” to which another person responded, “Don’t call or text him after it’s all clear. If he is in hiding and you call or text, it may endanger him. Praying for you and him.”