Hundreds Attend Vigil for Slain Texas Deputy Darren Goforth

31 Aug 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

HOUSTON — Law enforcement officials said Saturday that a 30-year-old Houston man had been arrested in the fatal shooting the night before of a sheriff’s deputy as he filled the gas tank of his patrol car..

Texas prosecutors on Saturday charged a 30-year-old man with capital murder in the killing of a uniformed sheriff’s deputy who was gunned down from behind while filling his patrol car with gas in what officials described as a “senseless and cowardly act.” The arrest of Shannon J. Miles — who has a criminal history that includes convictions for resisting arrest and disorderly conduct with a firearm — came less than 24 hours after authorities said he ambushed Darren Goforth, a 10-year veteran of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, at a suburban Houston Chevron station. “I am proud of the men and women that have worked swiftly to apprehend the responsible person who posed a significant threat to both law enforcement and the community at large,” Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman said at a news conference. “Our deputies return to the streets tonight to hold a delicate peace that was shattered last evening.” Hickman said the motive for the killing had not been determined but investigators would look at whether Miles, who is black, was motivated by anger over recent killings elsewhere of black men by police that have spawned the “Black Lives Matter” protest movement.

We’re still searching to find out if that’s actually a motive.” Goforth, who was white, was pumping gas Friday night when the gunman approached him from behind and fired multiple shots, continuing to fire after the deputy had fallen to the ground. An impromptu memorial sprouted at the pump he had used Friday night, with a pile of balloons, flowers, candles and notes, including one that said, “Gone but never forgotten R.I.P. Investigators have not found any provocation that might have set off the attack. “We have not been able to extract any details regarding a motive at this point,” Sheriff Hickman said. “As far as we know, Deputy Goforth had no previous contact with the suspect. Deputy Goforth.” The gas station was open Saturday, but that pump was closed. “He was passionate about what he did,” the 49-year-old said, adding, “We’re still in shock. … It’s a huge loss for his family. Court records of Miles’ previous arrests show he lived at a home that deputies searched earlier Saturday and where a red truck, similar to one that authorities said left the scene of the shooting, was found.

Even as officials at an earlier news conference emphasized that they had not established a motive, they tied the attack to the wave of protests across the country over police shootings, including the demonstrations after the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and Eric Garner on Staten Island. To some, the death of Deputy Goforth echoed the attack last year on two New York City police officers who were sitting in their patrol car in Brooklyn when they were shot at point-blank range and killed. It appears at the outset to be completely unprovoked.” Investigators also recovered a handgun that ballistics test indicated was a match for the weapon used in the shooting, Hickman said, adding that the police were searching for no other suspects.

So why don’t we just drop the qualifier, and just say ‘lives matter,’ and take that to the bank.” Goforth is the 23rd officer to be shot and killed in the line of duty this year, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page, a nonprofit group that tracks line-of-duty fatalities. That does not mean there should be open warfare declared on law enforcement,” she said. “The vast majority of officers are there to do the right thing.” Investigators were interrogating Mr.

The gunman, Ismaaiyl Brinsley, who had a history of mental health problems, had traveled to the city from Baltimore vowing to kill officers and had alluded to the Brown and Garner cases on social media. “At any point when the rhetoric ramps up to the point where calculated, coldblooded assassinations of police officers happen, this rhetoric has gotten out of control,” Hickman said. “We’ve heard ‘Black Lives Matter.’ All lives matter. But I think the statement shows a lack of understanding of what is occurring in this country when it comes to the singling out of African-Americans.” DeRay Mckesson, 30, an activist who has attended and publicized several protests, from Ferguson to North Charleston, S.C., said in a Tweet that it was “sad that some have chosen to politicize this tragedy by falsely attributing the officer’s death to a movement seeking to end violence.” Mr.

Miles’s relatives stepped outside to look at the sign, and one walked to the corner, said she had no comment, pulled up the sign and carried it inside. Wes Tarpley, 60, who lives nearby, left a cross at the base of the pump that read “Grace and peace my son.” He said he could not make sense of the killing. “You can’t make sense of evil,” Tarpley said. “Evil is evil. But he said his deputies, while being more cautious as they worked their shifts, were reeling. “This is the kind of thing that drives you right down to your soul,” he said. “Our job is to carry the badge and gun and protect everybody else, and now we’ve got to fall back, regroup and take care of one of our own.”

Whatever it was, it was dark.” Sheriff Hickman and other officials said they had been overwhelmed by the support of residents and other law enforcement agencies.

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