The slaying of a Texas Tech University police officer marks the fourth shooting death of a Texas peace officer this year, according to reports filed with the Texas Attorney General’s office.
“Words can’t express how saddened I am by the tragic loss of one of our Texas Tech University police officers tonight,” read a statement released by Robert Duncan, chancellor of the Texas Tech System, late Monday.
According to the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, Hollis A. Daniels III – known in his hometown of Seguin as Reid – confessed to the shooting of Officer Floyd East Jr. The 19-year-old faces a charge of capital murder. East leaves behind a wife and two daughters.
Campus police visited Daniels’ dorm Monday evening after receiving information “about a student acting erratically who was reported to be in possession of a weapon,” Chief Kyle Bonath said in a news conference Tuesday.
There were drugs and paraphernalia in Daniels’ room, and he was taken to the police department, according to the university and Bonath.
While East filled out booking paperwork, Daniels – who wasn’t wearing handcuffs at the time, according to his arrest warrant affidavit – allegedly shot him in the back of the head and then fled, causing a university-wide lockdown until he was arrested.
Aside from outliers like the July 7, 2016 slayings of five officers in Dallas, fatal shooting numbers haven’t changed much over the years. Nationwide, 37 officers have been killed by gunfire so far this year, down slightly from 43 at this time last year, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page, which tracks officers’ deaths nationwide. In 2017, there have been 101 total line-of-duty deaths, compared to 107 at this time last year, ODMP data shows.
Only since Sept. 1, 2015 has the state of Texas required reports on all officer-involved shootings, including injuries. An analysis of those reports show that as of Oct. 10, 2017, there have been a total of 21 Texas officers shot – including three fatally – not counting East. In 2016, a total of 37 officers were shot, seven fatally. There were five officers shot, one fatally, during the last four months of 2015.
Explore other characteristics of shootings of officers, based on data collected in the state-mandated reports, in the graphics below.