LUBBOCK, Texas – On Wednesday, there was not as much testimony, but instead, video from the moments before and after Hollis Daniels III shot and killed Texas Tech Police Department (TTPD) Officer Floyd East Jr.
After Officer East arrested Daniels in his dorm room at Talkington Hall, prosecutors showed video from Officer East’s patrol vehicle as well as his body camera during the drive over to the TTPD headquarters.
You can see Daniels fidgeting in the backseat, and then you hear his gun drop. Next, you hear Officer East, who was driving the car at the time, ask Daniels what that loud noise was. Daniels would respond, “my handcuffs, nothing else.” The video shows Daniels in handcuffs struggling to pick up the gun, but he’d eventually get a hold of it and tuck it into the front of his waistband and pull his shirt over his pants to cover the gun.
At the point when Officer East and Daniels are walking into the TTPD headquarters, prosecutors deemed the video that would follow as too graphic, so only the judge, the jury, the attorneys and Daniels were able to watch the video. The gallery could only hear the audio.
Although the gallery couldn’t see the video, people could see Daniels’ reactions in court. He was taking a lot of deep breaths and was clearly struggling through it.
In the briefing room, Officer East takes off his body camera and puts it on the table. Sgt. Tyler Snelson, who responded with Officer East that night, told the court Wednesday that this is a common practice so that the body camera would capture both the officer and the suspect.
When Sgt. Snelson checked on Officer East and Daniels in the briefing room, he noticed Daniels was no longer handcuffed. He said that, too, is not unusual if a suspect is being cooperative.
In the final moments of Officer East’s life, Daniels asked him, “do you have any family at home?” Officer East responded, “yes.” That’s when Daniels shot the officer point blank in the head.
Daniels would take off running with the gun and Officer East’s body camera. Officers involved in the chase that testified Wednesday said he was not following their orders and continued running away. It would be just under two hours before law enforcement captured him. At that point, then TTPD Officer Bennie Edwards said he had his rifle pointed at Daniels. He said Daniels kept telling him, “put it in my head.” Officer Edwards would lower his gun when no weapons were found. Daniels was then taken into custody.
Officers from TTPD and the Lubbock Police Department would then search for the gun and Officer East’s body camera that Daniels had stolen. Both items would be recovered near the old Lubbock Municipal Coliseum where they found him.
The sentencing phase will pick back up at 9 a.m. on Thursday.