Trial begins for man accused of killing Texas Tech police officer


LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) – The capital murder trial has started for Hollis Daniels who is accused of shooting and killing a Texas Tech police officer in 2017. The trial begins five years and one day after the fatal shooting of Texas Tech Police Officer Floyd East, Jr.

Daniels, 24, is charged with capital murder and could face the death penalty. His attorneys tried to rule out the death penalty in his case but their motion was denied on Nov. 25, 2019.

Daniels appeared in court Monday as attorneys discussed procedural matters. The majority of those conversations happened in the judge’s chambers. Everyone involved in the case remains under a gag order, which was issued shortly after the fatal shooting.

Jury selection is scheduled for October 24.

Trial begins for man accused of killing Texas Tech police officer
Officer Floyd East, Jr.

TIMELINE

October 8, 2017, into the early morning hours of October 9, 2017: A firearm was stolen from a Lubbock home. This was reported several hours later.

October 9, 2017, 1:11 a.m.: Lubbock police officers responded to a home regarding a disturbance surrounding the theft of a firearm. The victim in the case told police, as did witnesses, the suspect who stole his gun threatened to kill him.

October 9, 2017, 1:18 a.m.: Lubbock police officers spotted a vehicle matching the suspect’s vehicle description. Officers said they searched the driver, Daniels, and did not find a weapon. Officers asked if Daniels had a weapon in his car and he said he did not but refused to let them search his vehicle. Officers attempted to have a drug dog search the vehicle, but one was not available. The officer released Daniels after deciding they did not have enough probable cause to search the vehicle.

“There was not enough probable cause to search it on its own, nor to get a warrant for the vehicle. They thought there might be perhaps even drugs in the vehicle. They looked into whether or not a drug dog was available to sniff the vehicle; there was not one available. They looked at a few avenues. Ultimately, it would have been unconstitutional for the officers to search the vehicle,” Lubbock Police Chief Greg Stevens said.

Hours later on October 9, 2017: The Texas Tech University Police Department received a report of a gunshot heard coming from Daniels’ dorm room at Talkington Hall. Texas Tech police officers, including 48-year-old Floyd East, Jr., responded for a welfare check. As officers searched Daniels’ room, they reported finding drug paraphernalia, but no weapon. Officers said Daniels walked into the room during that time and they found drug paraphernalia on him as well. Officers take Daniels to the Texas Tech Police Department to be booked on drug charges.

“The Texas Tech Police Department received information about a student acting erratically who was reported to be in possession of a weapon of an armed student acting erratically. Officers responded to the dorm to conduct a welfare check and during the welfare check, noticed drug paraphernalia present in the dorm. At this point, the student showed up and after being identified, he was also found to be in possession of drug paraphernalia and was arrested and subsequently transported to the police department,” said Texas Tech University Police Chief Kyle Bonath.

October 9, 2017, 7:44 p.m.: According to a police report, Corporal Tyler Snelson said Officer East was completing paperwork at the computers in the briefing room. Snelson said he observed Officer East facing the computers while Daniels was facing in the opposite direction. At the time, Snelson said Daniels was not wearing handcuffs. Snelson said he left the briefing room and went to an office nearby. Shortly after, Snelson said heard a bang from the briefing room. Snelson said he went back into the briefing room where he saw East with an apparent gunshot wound. Daniels was no longer in the room, but Snelson said he found a .45 caliber shall casing near East. Snelson said East’s police body camera was missing and his pistol was still in his holster.

October 9, 2017, 7: 46 p.m.: Texas Tech dispatchers notified the Lubbock Police Department of the shooting.

October 9, 2017, 7:49 p.m.: Lubbock police officers arrive at Texas Tech University

“Just as we would do with one of our own officers or any other homicide, we did a homicide call out. Lubbock police detectives responded, began to process that scene aided by members of the Texas Rangers, the Texas Department of Public Safety’s laboratory services, also with members of the Lubbock County Sheriff’s office. We also had help from the local FBI office” Stevens said.

October 9, 2017, at 8:23 p.m.: Texas Tech sent out an emergency notification that a shooting had been reported at the Texas Tech Police Department and the shooter was still at large. It went on to say the campus was still on lockdown and to take shelter in a safe location.

“During this time frame, the TTU counseling center advised the Texas Tech Police Department the student’s family had called to express concerns that the student may be in possession of a weapon and making comments about suicide,” Bonath said.

October 9, 2017, at 9:08 p.m.: Someone sighted Daniels on campus.

October 9, 2017, at 9:26 p.m.: A Texas Tech police officer located Daniels and took him into custody. According to the arrest warrant, Daniels was located near 2720 Drive of Champions, City Bank Coliseum. According to a police report, a .45 caliber pistol loaded with RP ammunition and a police body camera were located near where Daniels was arrested. According to the report, Daniels stated to officers that he was the one that shot their friend. The officer who interviewed Daniels said he stated, “I “f****d up.” The officer reported Daniels went on to say he did “something illogical.”

Hollis Alvin Daniels mugshot (Source: Lubbock County Detention Center)
Hollis Alvin Daniels mugshot (Source: Lubbock County Detention Center)

East served on the campus of Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso (TTUHSC El Paso) from December 2014 to April 2017 before transferring to the Texas Tech University (TTU) campus in Lubbock in May to complete field training.

The native El Pasoan had plans to return to his hometown when a position became available at the TTUHSC El Paso campus.

East is survived by his wife and two daughters.

Floyd’s wife Carmen East filed a civil suit against Daniels back in October of 2019, two years after the shooting, suing for more than $1 million.

Officer Floyd East, Jr., an El Paso native, was 48 years old. He is survived by his wife Carmen and his daughters, Ana and Monica.

RELATED LINK: Consider This: Honoring the memory of Texas Tech Officer Floyd East Jr.

FULL COVERAGE: Texas Tech Police Officer Shooting

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