Suspect, but no motive, found in Houston officer’s slaying

31 Aug 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

After arrest in ‘execution-style’ shooting of Texas deputy, a search for a motive.

Law enforcement officials on Saturday arrested Shannon J. HOUSTON (AP) — The man charged with capital murder in the fatal shooting of a uniformed suburban Houston sheriff’s deputy will be arraigned this week, jail records show.On Friday night, a sheriff’s deputy in Texas was fatally shot at a gas station in would be described as “an unprovoked, execution-style killing of a police officer.” One day later, a 30-year-old man, identified as Shannon J. Shannon Miles was picked up for questioning early on Saturday following the Friday night shooting, which was captured on surveillance video, Harris County sheriff Ron Hickman told reporters. But what remained unclear Sunday was a motive for the shooting at a suburban Houston Chevron, which authorities say occurred when Goforth, 47, stopped to fill up his patrol car. “We have not been able to extract any details regarding a motive at this point.

Earlier on Saturday, the sheriff had linked the shooting of deputy Darren Goforth, who is white, to anti-police rhetoric across the country in the wake of a number of deaths of unarmed black men at the hands of white officers. Goforth, 47, was pumping gas at a Chevron station on Friday night when the gunman approached him from behind and fired multiple shots, continuing to fire after the deputy had fallen to the ground. While the motive behind the shooting remains unclear, officials were quick to link the incident to Black Lives Matter, the series of demonstrations against police misconduct. Investigators have said that they think Goforth was targeted for his uniform, however, and Hickman said authorities would look into whether heightened tensions surrounding law enforcement were a factor. “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. Witnesses saw the gunman in a red pick-up truck, and investigators used vehicle records to track down Mr Miles, who lived near the gas station, the sheriff said.

The killing has evoked strong emotions in the local law enforcement community, with Hickman linking it to heightened tension over the treatment of African Americans by police. Miles’ criminal record begins in 2005, when he was convicted of criminal mischief, giving false information to police and resisting arrest, according to records. So far this year, there have been 24 firearms-related deaths of law enforcement officers, compared with 30 during the same period in 2014, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

Harris County district attorney Devon Anderson, who appeared with Sheriff Hickman, also pushed back against widespread criticism of police. “There are a few bad apples in every profession,” she said. “That does not mean that there should be open warfare declared on law enforcement.” Despite ongoing efforts to improve relations between law enforcement and black communities across the nation, tensions remain high between police and the public. Related protests erupted recently in Texas after a 28-year-old black woman from the Chicago area, Sandra Bland, was found dead in a county jail about 50 miles north-west of Houston three days after her arrest on a traffic violation. 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.” “It is sad that some have chosen to politicize this tragedy by falsely attributing the officer’s death to a movement seeking to end violence,” civil rights activist DeRay McKesson tweeted. Still, the shooting – which shocked the suspect’s neighbors as well as Harris County, the most populous in Texas – could be an opportunity for the community to come together.

On Saturday night, hundreds attended a vigil for Goforth, who leaves behind a wife and two children and whom colleagues described as a passionate officer and a family man. “We need a lot of healing rather than anger,” Houston police Lt. Goforth’s wife, Kathleen Goforth, released a statement Saturday to Houston television station KPRC-TV that said her husband was “ethical; the right thing to do is what guided his internal compass.”

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