Police Investigate Motive in Ambush of Houston Area Deputy

31 Aug 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Hundreds Attend Vigil for Slain Texas Deputy Darren Goforth.

Hundreds of people showed up at a Texas gas station Saturday to pay tribute to a sheriff’s deputy who was gunned down from behind after filling up his patrol car the night before.A man arrested Saturday in the shooting death of a sheriff’s deputy at a Houston gas station Friday has been charged with capital murder, Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman told reporters at a news conference Saturday evening.

Goforth said they were there to support the police, and some said they were frustrated with the “black lives matter” movement and what they said was an increased hostility against all police. “When we were younger and we used to be home alone, he would always drive by and check to make sure we were OK,” said Simone Langland, who has been friends with Delossantos since childhood. “It’s just so sad, and it’s not fair he couldn’t even defend himself,” she said. Miles — who has a criminal history that includes convictions for resisting arrest and disorderly conduct with a firearm, according to an Associated Press report — 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. Goforth was white. “I think that’s something that we have to keep an eye on,” Hickman said. “The general climate of that kind of rhetoric can be influential on people to do things like this. Goforth, 47, died after being shot several times in what Hickman described as “an unprovoked, execution-style killing of a police officer.” Goforth is survived by his wife and two children, ages 5 and 12. “We have not been able to extract any details regarding a motive at this point.

As Deputy Goforth pumped the gas, the gunman approached from behind and began firing, continuing to shoot after the officer fell to the ground, the authorities said. The deputy had gone to the Chevron gas station in Cypress, a middle-class to upper middle-class suburban area of Harris County that is unincorporated and located northwest of Houston, after responding to a routine car accident earlier Friday. Hickman said 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. 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.

Greg Abbott said “heinous and deliberate crimes against law enforcement will not be tolerated” and that the state “reveres the men and women in law enforcement who put their lives on the line every day to protect and serve their communities.” Hickman said Miles had been in the custody of authorities “all night.” Authorities earlier Saturday said they had been speaking with a person of interest but had not identified that individual. 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. 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.

But in speaking about the incident, authorities also referenced the broader national conversation regarding the relationship between law enforcement and the communities they police. Goforth is white. “I wanted to demonstrate that all lives matter, regardless of color,” said Carol Hayes, an African American woman who attended the vigil. Hickman credited the work of investigators and “routine research” that found the truck that led to “the suspect responsible for this senseless and cowardly act.” An impromptu memorial sprouted at the pump Goforth 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 said they believed Goforth was targeted for his uniform and described the working motive as “absolute madness.” 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. 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. Deputy Goforth.” The gas station was open Saturday, but that pump was closed. “He was passionate about what he did,”said McCullar, 49, adding, “We’re still in shock. . . . 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,” Mr. 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.”

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