Texas Tech shooting takes emotional toll on UT Austin police

A photo posted by UTPD in solidarity with the Texas Tech Police Department. Photo Courtesy UTPD Twitter.
A photo posted by UTPD in solidarity with the Texas Tech Police Department. Photo Courtesy UTPD Twitter.

AUSTIN (KXAN) — After a Texas Tech Police officer was shot and killed on the TTU campus Monday, the University of Texas at Austin Police Department is mourning with them, said UTPD Chief David Carter.

Texas Tech student Hollis Daniels, 19, has been charged with the capital murder of police officer Floyd East Jr.

Texas Tech Police said they responded to a dorm to check on the welfare of a student. They found him in a room along with evidence of drugs and drug paraphernalia.  Officer East took Daniels to the Texas Tech Police Department for a standard briefing, but soon after, East was found with a gunshot wound and Daniels was gone. Police found Daniels and arrested him about 90 minutes later with the slain officer’s body camera and a loaded pistol nearby.

UTPD’s Chief Carter got the call from his friends in the law enforcement community Tuesday evening about the shooting.

“Any time there is a loss of a police officer it is going to impact all of the officers at UTPD, all the officers at APD, Travis County Sheriff, DPS, all of our local and regional officers really do feel that,” Carter explained.

In particular, Carter said, there is a kinship between university police officers because they all share similar goals. Carter said that outside of enforcing the law, university police have a special obligation to look out for students’ health and well being.

“We are here to take care and protect our students so they can become our future leaders,” Carter said. “And that’s the way we at UTPD see ourselves, that our job is to help students get through young adulthood as they mature so they can get out into society and realize their dreams and then in time will take care of us in the future.”

Carter added that while UTPD enforces the law, his officers spend a great deal of their time every day doing welfare checks on students.

“So the tragic part of this is the fact that you have this officer presumably — and I didn’t know him — operating under this same premise there for the well being of the students,” Carter said. “And to have a tragedy like this clearly affects us all.”

Carter said that it will take a while for his UTPD officers to process this tragedy. Carter added that UTPD is willing to offer support to TTPD in any way it can.

“Providing that support — that moral support — the courage that’s necessary to continue to protect that campus,” Carter said. “They simply can’t stop because an incident occurred. They’re there for those students on that campus, the same thing that would happen here if there was an incident at UT.”

The chief said UTPD will review its procedures and adjust as necessary after the Texas Tech shooting. In order to protect the safety of the UT campus community, they cannot discuss the specific preparations they make for emergency situations.

A similar re-evaluation is going on at the Austin Community College District. So, too, is the mourning.

“We don’t yet have all of the facts in this case, but we do know police officers put their lives on the line to protect others each and every day,” said ACC District Chief Lynn Dixon. “Here at ACC, we train on a regular basis for all types of scenarios. It is our job to protect our students, employees, and visitors. What happened to Officer East is a tragedy. Our hearts go out to his family and fellow officers.”

Chief Dixon added that as they do after every act of violence, ACC will join other law enforcement departments in evaluating their practices and procedures.

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