Thousands honor slain Texas Tech officer

Thousands honor slain Texas Tech officer

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

The dream was quickly taken away from Texas Tech Police Officer Floyd East Jr. He always felt compelled to protect and serve. 

"It is tough," Texas Tech Police Sgt. Amy Ivey said. "I think we are all in a state of shock."

The reality of losing a colleague is still tough on Ivey.

"You always hear about it happening in other places, but for it to happen here in Lubbock, Texas it hits the heart pretty heavily. I don't think we have realized what has happened. I think we are still trying to put things together."

East started off as a guard at the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center El Paso in 2014. He graduated from the police academy last summer.

"Being a guard, he kind of had that experience of what police officers do," Sgt. Ivey said. "We work hand-in-hand with the guards. So, that has always been a dream and passion of his. So, that is why he decided to pursue the career."

Sgt. Ivey says he was always eager to learn.

"We always had each other's back. He had our backs. He was a great guy in general to be around, and very easy to get along." 

Many Red Raiders poured out their love and support onto paper for the slain officer's family. Inside the Student Union Building is a wall of gratitude for the entire police department. 

Tuesday evening thousands of people huddled in Memorial Circle for a vigil. In attendance was Tech junior Joshua Beaty. His dad is a retired Houston police officer.

"Lubbock, oh Lubbock is safe that might not happen here. But it did," Beaty said. "This police officer was here to protect us. He was here for us."

South Plains College student Michael Gonzales even came out with his rosary.

"It is home, you never think anything like this to happen at home. It hurts," Gonzales said.

During the memorial everyone stood silent; Red Raiders stood in solidarity, their hands giving the "Guns Up".

"It shows the honor we have for them," Beaty said. "I think it is going to give us a new sense of gratitude for who they are, maybe like be a bit less bitter when we get pulled over."

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