No motive in shooting of Texas deputy, but suspect’s mom says he has an alibi

31 Aug 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Black Lives Matter rhetoric under scrutiny in Texas ‘assassination’.

HOUSTON (AP) — A man charged with capital murder in the fatal shooting of a uniformed suburban Houston sheriff’s deputy had a lengthy criminal record going back a decade, but never spent more than short stints in jail.Officials have linked the shooting to anti-police rhetoric following protests against recent deaths of unarmed black men at the hands of white officers. “I think we should use this opportunity to, with this police officer, to have a fact based balance.More than 1,000 people returned to a Cypress, Texas, gas station Sunday night to honor Darren Goforth, the Harris County sheriff’s deputy who was gunned down seemingly at random last week. Harris County Deputy Darren Goforth was filling up his patrol car at a suburban Houston gas station Friday when a man he had never met walked up behind him and opened fire, police say.

Flowers, balloons and cards piled up at the pump where Goforth was shot Friday night as community members marched for a second time in the town near Houston. “I don’t care which department you work for. The suspect, Shannon Miles, is in custody but “we have not been able to extract any details regarding a motive at this point,” said Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman. The anti-police rhetoric surrounding the Black Lives Matter movement, he added, has ramped up “to the point where calculated, cold-blooded assassination of police officers happens.” In the aftermath of such tragedy, it is perhaps an understandable sentiment. He is being held without bond pending his arraignment Monday morning. “He was loyal — fiercely so,” she said. “And he was ethical; the right thing to do is what guided his internal compass. We don’t want cops to get killed and we don’t want innocent black citizens to be killed for minor traffic infractions or minor infractions selling cigarettes.” With the incident caught on CCTV, 30-year-old Shannon Miles, a Houston man, was quickly identified and has been arrested.

Miles’ criminal record begins in 2005, when he was convicted of criminal mischief, giving false information to police and resisting arrest, according to records. Beneath such comments is the implication that the fallout from the last year’s protests, which arose in Ferguson, Mo., has made police beats more deadly. Goforth, 47, was pumping gas at a Chevron station Friday night in Cypress, a middle- to upper-middle-class suburban area of Harris County located northwest of Houston, when the gunman approached him from behind and fired multiple shots, continuing to fire after the deputy had fallen to the ground.

The killing evoked strong emotions in the local law enforcement community, with Hickman linking it to heightened tension over the treatment of African-Americans by police. And while the numbers for police killed in ambushes this year are not available, the overall number of police killed by guns is down and near historic lows. Public confidence in police has fallen to a 22-year low, according to Gallup, and that has left departments from Baltimore to Virginia Beach, Va., feeling “under siege.” “When you see officers in Baltimore going through what they’re going through – and in Ferguson and New York – that affects morale here,” Brian Luciano, president of the Virginia Beach Police Benevolent Association, told The Virginian-Pilot. “You just see your brothers and sisters, and that could be you.” Some officers have said that they see more belligerence in those they stop on the street. But there is not yet strong evidence to support what Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson said he worried was an “open warfare declared on law enforcement.” Last year saw a spike in overall police deaths by gunfire (51).

As the group marched through the streets escorted by law enforcement vehicles, traffic in the opposite lanes came to a halt, video from news helicopters showed. A Houston-based nonprofit group called the 100 Club, which supports the families of firefighters and law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty, is providing Goforth’s wife with $20,000, and additional support, up to $300,000, could be provided to his family depending on their needs after an assessment is completed, the organization said. Carol Hayes, an African-American woman who attended the vigil, told NBC News that her family had always felt welcome in the area. “I wanted to demonstrate that all lives matter, regardless of color,” she said.

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