Cops: Texas Tech student was pulled over in stolen gun case before officer's killing

Hollis Daniels, suspect in fatal shooting of Texas Tech University police officer on night of October 9, 2017

KLBK-TV

LUBBOCK, Texas -- The student suspect in the fatal shooting of a Texas Tech officer was pulled over the day before the killing by Lubbock police investigating the report of a stolen gun, police said Thursday.

Texas Tech student Hollis Alvin Daniels, 19, is facing a capital murder charge in the death of Texas Tech police officer Floyd East, Jr. on the school's Lubbock campus Monday.

Texas Tech Police Chief Kyle Bonath said Tuesday that East had gone to Daniels' dorm room on Monday after police "received reports about a student behaving erratically who was believed to be in possession of a weapon." East allegedly found evidence of drugs and drug paraphernalia and Daniels, 19, was transported to the campus police station.

Daniels was being processed to be booked into jail and wasn't handcuffed when he allegedly fatally shot East, police have said. 

Daniels fled and was arrested about 90 minutes later on the school's campus after a search and lockdown. Daniels had a gun and the East's body camera. He "immediately" told the officers he "f----d up" and admitted to the crime, according to an affidavit, obtained by CBS affiliate KLBK.

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Floyd East, Jr.

KLBK

Daniels was searched during his time in custody, Stevens said Thursday, "but unfortunately he was able to gain access to a weapon."

Police have provided few details about the weapon used to kill the officer, but a Texas Tech spokesman confirmed Wednesday that Daniels did not use a police department gun, and Daniels was charged federally on Wednesday with possessing a stolen firearm.

Laying out a timeline of events Thursday, Lubbock Police Chief Greg Stevens said that a Lubbock homeowner called Lubbock police Sunday night to report a firearm stolen from her home. Stevens said the gun wasn't reported stolen until several hours after it was stolen.

Stevens said Lubbock police officers pulled over Daniels early Monday because his car matched the description of the car in the stolen gun case. The officers questioned Daniels and asked for permission to search the car, which he refused, Stevens said.

Daniels was eventually released after officers determined they didn't have enough probable cause to search the car or get a warrant, Stevens said. Daniels was released.

Lubbock police spokeswoman Kasie Whitley said Thursday that Daniels threatened someone at a home on Sunday before driving off. She says a gun was stolen from the home, but neither she nor Stevens would say whether Daniels is suspected of stealing that gun.

Stevens said the officers acted appropriately in releasing Daniels. He said his department responded within minutes to the report of the shooting that left East dead.

Stevens did not say whether the gun used to kill East was the same one that had been reported stolen. He said there was "some kind of relationship" between Daniels and the woman who reported the gun stolen, but he didn't know how they knew each other.

A Lubbock Police public information officer didn't immediately respond to a request from Crimesider for more information.

Stevens said Texas Tech Police will conduct an internal review, while Lubbock police will investigate East's homicide.    

East was 48, was married and had two daughters, reports KLBK.

Daniels, who is from the San Antonio suburb of Seguin, is charged with capital murder of a peace officer and is being held in the Lubbock County jail on a $5 million bond. Online jail records don't indicate whether he has an attorney who can speak on his behalf.

Daniels is the son of H. A. "Dan" Daniels, a well-known figure in Seguin. The elder Daniels was a city councilman from 1998 to 2002 and again from 2006 to 2010, when term limits prevented him from running for re-election. He didn't immediately reply to phone messages seeking comment that were left at a family business and calls to the family's home got a busy signal. 

Texas Tech is a public research university in Lubbock, which is in West Texas. With more than 36,000 students, it's one of the largest universities in the state.