Suspect charged with murder in fatal deputy sheriff shooting
A sheriff’s deputy was murdered at a suburban Houston gas station solely because he wore a uniform, officials said Saturday as they announced an arrest in the execution-style slaying.
Shannon J. Miles, 31, of the nearby town of Copperfield, will face capitol murder charges in the “senseless and cowardly act,” Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman told reporters after the arrest Saturday.
Miles’ rap sheet includes charges of resisting arrest, trespass and “disorderly conduct with a firearm,” Hickman said.
“We have not been able to extract any details regarding a motive,” Hickman said of Friday’s killing of Deputy Darren Goforth, a 10-year veteran of the Sheriff’s Office.
“As far as we know, Deputy Goforth had no prior contact with the suspect,” and the shooting was “unprovoked,” Hickman said.
“At this point, our assumption is that he was a target because he was wearing a uniform.”
Texan officials said the shooting is especially unsettling given the recent tension between civilians and law enforcement.
“We’ve heard black lives matter, all lives matter. Well, cops’ lives matter too,” Hickman said earlier in the day.
District Attorney Devon Anderson echoed, “There should not be open warfare on law-enforcement officers.”
Goforth, who leaves behind a wife and two children, had just finished attending to a routine accident nearby when he stopped at a Chevron station to gas up his vehicle, according to Harris County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Deputy Thomas Gilliland.
“He was pumping gas into his vehicle, and the male suspect came up behind him and shot the deputy multiple times,” Gilliland told the Houston Chronicle.
“The deputy fell to ground. The suspect came over and shot the deputy again multiple times as he lay on the ground.”
Investigators screened security-camera video for clues, and scoured automobile records to locate the owners of cars of the same type witnessed at the scene, officials said.
“This is a very tough moment right now for the Harris County Sheriff’s Office,” Gilliland said. “Keep us in your prayers and in your thoughts.”
Bob Goerlitz, president of the Harris County Deputies Organization, said the incident was “shocking.”
“We’ve been warned of things like this, because of public sentiment nationally and events over the last few years,” he said.
“It’s just horrific. That’s the only way to describe it.”