Memorial for fallen officers raises question about campus safety

The heart of Texas Tech University was covered in a blanket of blue as people huddled together and waited with lit candles in their hands.

Memorial Circle on the campus of TTU was filled with people dressed in blue who came to honor fallen Texas Tech Police Officer Floyd East Jr., who died from gunshot wounds after he was shot by a student.

The service, held on Oct. 10, commenced with words from Texas Tech Student Body President Robbie Meyer and Texas Tech President Lawrence Schovanec, followed by the Tech community singing the “Matador Song.” In this moment, people came together and contributed to the memorial with flowers and letters, which led many to feel the impact of this momentous event.

Despite the emotions experienced at Memorial Circle, a few things people have considered during this tragic moment that occurred on Oct. 9 is their own safety at Texas Tech and if the gun regulations and campus carry should be acknowledged IMG_1134for any contribution toward the shooting of East by Hollis Daniels, a freshman from Seguin.

The consequences of the shooting have led many to feel the effects of this memorial service.

Myles Salazar, a sophomore at Texas Tech, said he felt many emotional connections toward the memorial, as he had a friend who was close to Officer East’s son.

“We all came together in this one moment,” Salazar said of the gathering at Memorial Circle. “There was no adversity, no conflict, and we just showed how close we were as a university and as a community.”

The togetherness during this service presented a sense of strength among the people. But many students who attend Texas Tech had to deal with the fear and the craziness that transpired during the night of the shooting. The need for protection is something that people are always reminded of in times of violent attacks.

Gage Johnson, a freshman at Texas Tech, mentioned how he was nervous about a person being able to carry an unlicensed gun on campus. But with these gun regulations and campus carry, safety is something that Johnson said will be maintained.

“I think there are a lot of responsible people on this campus,” said Johnson. “I feel that open carry would really help.”

Faith in these regulations is something that gives some students hope that their campus will be safer, despite the shooter having an unlicensed weapon.IMG_1133

“I really trust our law enforcement and that these regulations will help,” said Johnson.

The trust put into the campus police is one factor that has kept some students calm while attending Tech during this tragic time. It is because of the campus police at Texas Tech that students still retain a sense of comfort.

Dylan Rogers, the TTU freshman who had the idea to initiate the memorial for Officer East, said he felt safe during and after the shooting, despite the hectic atmosphere of the tragedy.

“At no point was I ever scared for my life,” said Rogers. “I know the Lubbock PD and the Texas Tech PD were doing everything they could do to make sure that the students were safe and that the man was caught.”

Rogers said that a lot of questions will be raised and some controversy will transpire regarding campus carry. But despite the consequences of gun laws and how these laws are affected after shootings, Rogers said he believed that the rules caused no trouble.

“I don’t believe it’s the gun’s fault,” said Rogers. “I just wish there were the proper pat downs so we could have avoided all of this.”

Whether any rules or further procedures could have prevented the shooting, considerations toward this violent act, which led to the death of a Tech officer, were set aside during the memorial service. People left the night of the shooting in the past and came together at Memorial Circle to honor the life of Officer East. The one thing that is certain is that the Texas Tech PD will do everything to keep the people of the Tech community safe.

“I still feel as safe as ever,” said Rogers. “No one else was hurt, so for that I am very grateful.”

Author: Adán Rubio

Staff writer for the Plainsman Press.

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