LUBBOCK (CBSDFW.COM) – A police officer at Texas Tech University was fatally shot in the head by a student, according to a campus spokesperson. The incident happened at about 9:30 p.m. on Monday night as campus authorities were making a welfare check on 19-year-old Hollis Daniels.
Upon entering the student’s room, officers found drug paraphernalia, the university said in a statement. Daniels was brought back to the police station for questioning, but he pulled out a gun and fatally shot an officer in the head. Daniels then ran off, prompting a campus lockdown.
Lainey La Rue Garner from Mansfield is a student at Texas Tech. She was in her dorm room and saw SWAT officers patrolling outside with their weapons drawn. “I locked my door. I even put a couch in front of my door, just in case, because all of these cops are outside of my dorm specifically, so that was kind of freaky,” she described.
Daniels was at large for at least an hour after the shooting.
The following was sent as a Texas Tech Emergency Alert before the freshman student was caught:
This is TTU. 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.
“The moment I got the text, my heart dropped,” continued Garner. “The first thing I did was call my parents. But just having that reality, that you see it all over the news and all of a sudden it’s right outside my window, it’s making me really nervous, very scared.”
Kyle Cheek also attends Texas Tech, but he was at an off-campus fraternity house at the time of the shooting. His parents were terrified when they found out about the incident online. “I received a Facebook alert,” said mother Christie Cheek. “Someone tagged me from the official Texas Tech Facebook page.”
Cheek called his parents to inform them that he was safe. “We were very alarmed, very helpless. Five hours away, not knowing what’s going on with a shooter on campus, especially with everything going on with the Vegas incident. It’s very disheartening. It’s very scary,” father David Cheek said.
Daniels was eventually located near Jones AT&T Stadium and has since been charged with capital murder. The lockdown was lifted and no students were hurt during this incident. It is not clear if Daniels was carrying the gun or took one from a police officer. More information is expected to come from a Tuesday afternoon news conference.
The CBS affiliate in Lubbock has gotten a hold of the arrest affidavit, which stated that Daniels admitted to the shooting. After his arrest, Daniels told officers that he “f—ed up” and did “something illogical” by shooting their friend. The affiliate also said online that the deceased officer had been identified as Floyd East Jr. in the affidavit.
Counselors are being made available to Texas Tech students and staff members on Tuesday.
Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted about the shooting Monday night and then released the following statement:
First and foremost, our hearts go out to the family of the police officer killed at Texas Tech University. I have spoken to Chancellor Robert Duncan to offer my condolences, and I have mobilized the Texas Department of Public Safety to offer any assistance to the Lubbock Police Department. As the Texas Tech campus deals with this heartbreaking tragedy, Cecilia and I pray for the continued safety of the students and the entire community.
Sen. Ted Cruz also tweeted his thoughts and prayers for the university’s students.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is now planning to travel to the university to meet with school administrators and the law enforcement officers there, offering support during this difficult time. Paxton issued a statement Tuesday morning that read, in part:
Texans are shocked and saddened by the senseless murder of a courageous Texas Tech University police officer. Our deepest sympathy and prayers are with this officer’s family and the Texas Tech community today and in the days ahead.
When asked if the shooting would lead to any security changes, the University of Texas at Arlington stated that the situation appeared to be an isolated incident, and insisted that no changes would be made on Tuesday. Texas Christian University also said that campus police were not planning any changes.