Texas Tech President: Security changes follow shooting death of Officer Floyd East

TTU President talks about security changes made across campus following last year's deadly shooting of Officer Floyd East Junior.

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - One year has passed since Lawrence Schovanec, president of Texas Tech University, received the call that Floyd East Jr., Texas Tech police officer, was shot and killed at the police department.

“You’re changed by that in a personal way, but this institution is also changed and I think it will also be a part of our history. Because of that, changes have been made and changes will be made," Schovanec said.

On Oct. 9, 2017 Tech police officers went to Talkington Hall for a welfare check. Tech Police Chief Kyle Bonath said the police department had received information that a student had a weapon and was acting erratically.

When officers arrived at the dorm, Bonath said they found drug paraphernalia in Hollis Daniels' room.

“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," Bonath said.

At 7: 44 p.m., officials said Daniels shot and killed Officer East inside the police department and then took off. At 8:23 p.m., the university sent out an emergency notification that a shooting had occurred at the police department and the shooter was still at large. The alert warned to seek shelter in a safe location.

Multiple agencies responded to the scene to assist Texas Tech police officer process the crime scene and find the suspect and at 9:26 p.m., a Texas Tech police officer took Daniels into custody.

Daniels remains in jail charged with capital murder of a peace officer and also faces a federal charge of possession of a stolen firearm.

Following that shooting, Schovanec called for the Texas Department of Public Safety to conduct a review of campus safety and security policies and procedures.

“We always have concerns about safety and I’m not just saying that. We are always looking at things that we could do to make sure our students, faculty and staff are safe. An incident like this exposes certain vulnerabilities and there was a report by the DPS and as a result of that report we have taken certain actions," Schovanec said.

The KCBD Investigates Team requested a copy of the DPS report released to university officials last spring.

Tech sent our request to the Texas Attorney General’s Office where a decision is pending.

While Schovanec could not address our specific questions related to the DPS report, he did speak with us about some of the safety improvements made over the last year.

“I think the big question in everyone’s mind is how was it that gun make its way into the police department, and while I can’t get into the specifics of that, the review has caused us to look at how we process those taken into custody and as a result of that review, additional measures and precautions will be exercised," Schovanec said.

“Do you still have confidence in the police department here?” we asked.

“I still am totally confident in our police department. I think we are in a better situation today than we were a year ago," Schovanec said.

We also asked about a delay in communication the night of the shooting.

The shooting happened at 7:44 p.m., but an alert about a shooter at large was not sent out until 8:23 p.m. University officials said getting the alert out was difficult since the police department had become a crime scene.

Schovanec said communication was something DPS analyzed and addressed in the report. In addition to changes in processing and communication, Schovanec said they have also installed additional security cameras around campus.

Schovanc said they have also made changes so the campus can be put on lock-down from a central location.

“As we reflect on the anniversary of East’s death,” Schovanec said, “It’s a time to remember that somebody who provided service to this university paid the ultimate sacrifice, and his family continues to share in that cost.”

While security changes have been made, Schovanec said the university will stay vigilant and proactive.

“You have to make sure you have taken every precaution to minimize something like this from happening. It’s part of the history of Texas Tech; it’s a tragic part of that history," Schovanec said. “But I think at the same time, it reflects on the love and the very special environment that we have here. We take strength in that.”

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