On Tuesday, hundreds of El Pasoans and other Texans from across the state gathered at Downtown El Paso’s Abraham Chavez Theatre to honor fallen Police Officer Floyd East Jr.
Officer East was a member of the Texas Tech Police Department. He served on the campus of Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso (TTUHSC El Paso) from December 2014 to April 2017 before transferring to the Texas Tech University (TTU) campus in Lubbock in May to complete field training.
The native El Pasoan, who had plans to return to his hometown when a position became available at the TTUHSC El Paso campus, died Oct. 9 during an evening shift.
Officer East was recognized as a hero who sacrificed his life while working to protect the TTU community.
“Every day, our police officers walk out in the world knowingly risking their lives to ensure that our lives are protected,” said TTUHSC El President Richard Lange, M.D., M.B.A. “There is really no greater act of selflessness than that.”
During the memorial service, Officer East was remembered as a loving father, husband and colleague. Family member Angie Escarciga described him as a witty and warm friend who excelled at carpentry, seafood boils and barbecuing and relished exhilarating activities like horror movies, skydiving and deep-sea diving.
She said Officer East’s favorite quote (popularly attributed to legendary author and thrill-seeker Hunter S. Thompson) was: “Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, ‘Wow! What a Ride!'”
Attendees came from far and wide to pay their respects to Officer East, with an overwhelming show of support from law enforcement agencies. Police officers traveled from as far as Chicago and New York, and from numerous cities across the state, including Lubbock, Austin, San Antonio, Odessa, Midland, Marfa, Galveston, Laredo and Corpus Christi.
Officer East’s local comrades in uniform also attended in droves. Representatives from the El Paso Border Patrol, County Sheriff’s Office, Fire Department, Police Department and other agencies solemnly assembled to salute the East family as they entered the theater for the service.
“Thank you for all the resources you have provided to ease the stress of bringing Floyd home and laying him to rest,” Escarciga told TTU System officials during the ceremony. “Raider community in Lubbock and El Paso, we love you. You have restored our faith in the goodness of humanity by your outpouring of love and support.”
The service ended with a release of 1,000 blue and black balloons as a symbolic farewell to Officer East. As directed by Governor Greg Abbott, state entities across Texas lowered their flags to half-staff in his honor.
Photos by Tommie Morelos, Office of Institutional Advancement.