Authorities said Daniels’ parents alerted the university about their son possibly being suicidal.
A Texas Tech freshman who authorities say admitted killing a campus police officer in Lubbock late Monday had been “acting erratically” and might have been armed before the incident, university Police Chief Kyle Bonath said.
The student, 19-year-old Hollis Alvin James Reid Daniels III, was charged with capital murder Tuesday morning in the shooting death of Texas Tech police officer Floyd East Jr., a 48-year-old rookie who graduated from the police academy in June 2016. East is survived by a wife and two daughters.
University police first went to Daniels’ dorm room Monday night after receiving reports about his behavior and that he might have a weapon, Bonath said. The officers noticed drug paraphernalia in the room before Daniels arrived, he said. Police arrested Daniels after finding more drug paraphernalia on him, Bonath said.
According to an arrest affidavit, East took Daniels to the university police station to book him on a paraphernalia charge. A police corporal in the room said in the affidavit that he saw Daniels standing without handcuffs next to East, who was using a computer to complete paperwork stemming from the arrest.
The corporal said he left the room and then heard a gunshot, according to the affidavit. He rushed back into the room and found East mortally wounded and Daniels missing.
The corporal said East’s gun was still in its holster but his body camera was gone, the affidavit says.
Authorities locked down the Texas Tech campus and searched for Daniels.
During the search, Bonath said, the university counseling center told police that Daniels’ family had “called to express concerns that the student might be in possession of a weapon and making comments about suicide.”
In his briefing for the public about the case Tuesday, Bonath did not say whether Daniels had been checked for weapons when he was first arrested on the drug charge.
Daniels was found less than a quarter-mile away with a gun loaded with bullets of the same caliber and brand as a shell found at the police station, Lubbock police said in the affidavit.
According to the document, Daniels admitted to the shooting in an interview with detectives after he was rearrested.
“Daniels stated to officers he was the one that shot their friend,” authorities wrote in the affidavit. During a later interview with Lubbock police detectives, Daniels said he “f—-ed up” and did “something illogical,” the affidavit said.
Daniels, the son of former Seguin City Council Member H.A. “Danny” Daniels, could face the death penalty if he is convicted. He was in Lubbock County Jail on Tuesday with bail set at $5 million. Efforts to reach the Daniels family in Seguin were unsuccessful Tuesday.
Daniels, known as Reid Daniels to his teachers and family and as James Reid Daniels on his Facebook and Instagram accounts, was born into a well-known Seguin family. His grandfather, known to his friends as “Windy,” owned and operated at least three movie theaters in the area, according to the Seguin Gazette newspaper archives.
Daniels attended Seguin High School, and an April 2016 school newsletter includes a photo of him, beaming along with his fellow student thespians and theater crew as they celebrated advancing to district in a UIL competition. He received an “All Star Crew” award.
“They work without a shop or an auditorium with curtains, stage lighting and a stage sound system yet they continue to excel,” the school’s theater director, Lydia Robles, said in the newsletter.
Daniels had what appeared to be his first run-in with law enforcement during his senior year, when he was charged in September 2015 with possession of drug paraphernalia and pleaded no contest to the Class C misdemeanor.
He graduated from Seguin High in 2016, a school district spokesman said.