In spite of a “tragic” shooting at Texas Tech University Monday, Lea County residents insist the school is as safe as any other.
A 19-year-old freshman identified as Hollis Daniels III was in police custody Tuesday after allegedly confessing to fatally shooting a campus police officer.
According to an affidavit filed by Lubbock police, Daniels said he was “the one that shot their friend” and did “something illogical.” Daniels, originally from Seguin, Texas, near San Antonio, is being held on a $5 million bond in the capital murder of Officer Floyd East Jr. in the campus police station.
Daniels had been taken into custody after officers found evidence of drugs and drug paraphernalia in his campus dormitory room. No information has been released to explain why he had not been either handcuffed or searched for weapons.
After the shooting, he ran away but was recaptured within about an hour. Police said he had East’s body camera and a handgun in his possession.
Angie Marquez of Lovington said when she heard of the campus lockdown Monday night she feared for her son Damian, a junior at Tech, who frequents the campus but actually lives off-campus.
“At first I thought, ‘Oh, where’s Damian,’” she told the News-Sun Tuesday. Her daughter, Denise, contacted Damian and learned he was at home at the time of the shooting.
Campus police locked down the campus, alerting students and others to shelter in place immediately after the shooting. Tech, with a student population of about 36,000, remained under lockdown just over an hour until after the shooter was in custody.
Marquez said, “(Denise) has several cousins there, so all the moms were like ‘Where are our kids, what are they doing, are they on campus or not?’ It was just scary.”
She said she talked with Damian Tuesday.
“He said, ‘This is weird, mom. Everyone’s just walking around and like, how did this happen?’ It’s an eye-opener for parents and kids at the school. It can happen anywhere,” she said.
Burkett-Shaw Realty employee and Hobbs resident Erika Terrill, who was in Lubbock Monday night, posted on the company’s Facebook page, “Our hearts are with the family of the officer that was killed last night on the Texas Tech Campus, as well as with the TTU Family and TTU Police Department.”
She said she has some family, a boyfriend and her boyfriend’s family in Lubbock. Her boyfriend is a student at Texas Tech.
“Actually, we were leaving (the campus) as the events took place. This was one of the days he got out of class early, so as we were leaving, we were watching emergency vehicles rush in,” she said.
Terrill told the News-Sun Tuesday, “I just feel it’s one of those bad things that happens. It’s unfortunate. It’s tragic. I do feel that Texas Tech does do a good job of keeping the safety of their staff and students.”
Angie Marquez agreed, “For people that are considering Tech, don’t get discouraged. Wherever you send your kids, there’s always a possibility of danger, but Tech is close to home. You feel right at home there.”
She said she always supported her son even when he was little.
“When he was 10 years old, he said, ‘Even if I have to play in the band, I’m going to Tech.’ Tech was an inspiration for him,” Marquez said.