A deputy sheriff in Harris County, Texas, was ambushed Friday night and shot to death while pumping gas near Houston, police said.
Deputy Darren H. Goforth, 47, was in uniform at a Chevron gas station when the killer approached him from behind and shot him multiple times, the Harris County Sheriff’s Office said. He then stood over the deputy and shot him several more times, witnesses told police.
Goforth was “literally gunned down,” at the gas station, Sheriff Ron Hickman said at a press conference.
On Saturday, police charged Shannon Miles, 30, with capital murder in Goforth’s death.
The shooting was reported at about 8:25 p.m. at a gas station in the northwest part of Harris County at West Road and Telge Road.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Police Believe It Was a Random, Unprovoked Attack
Deputy Darren Goforth had stopped for gas at the Chevron station after responding to an earlier traffic accident, Deputy Thomas Gilliland said at a press conference, according to 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,” Gilliland said. The deputy was pronounced dead at the scene when EMS arrived.
Gilliland said he believes it was a random, vicious attack, according to KTRK.
“In my 45 years in law enforcement, I can’t recall another incident so cold-blooded and cowardly,” Sheriff Ron Hickman told the Houston Chronicle.
2. The Suspected Gunman Did Not Have Any Connection to Goforth
The sheriff’s office said that the suspected gunman, Shannon Miles, did not have any known connection to Goforth.
Miles has a lengthy criminal record.
3. Goforth Was a 10-Year Veteran of the Sheriff’s OfficeThe sheriff’s office said the deputy was a 10-year veteran of the force. He worked in the department’s west side patrol division.
“Tonight we are grieving the loss of one of our brothers. I ask that you continue to pray for Deputy Goforth’s family, friends, & co-workers,” Sheriff Ron Hickman said on Twitter. “We will not rest until this suspect has been located and justice is served to the family of Deputy Darren Goforth.”
4. He Is Survived by His Wife & 2 Kids
Goforth is survived by his wife and two children, Sheriff Ron Hickman said at a press conference.
A witness, Mackenzie Stalter, told KTRK that a woman at the scene was “laying on top” of the deputy after he was shot, and screaming that she was his best friend.
5. He Is the First Texas Police Officer Fatally Shot in the Line of Duty This Year
Goforth is the first police officer killed in a line of duty shooting this year in Texas. He is the 20th officer fatally shot this year nationwide, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.
“This is shocking, it was just completely out of the blue,” Bob Goerlitz, president of the Harris County Deputies Organization, told the Houston Chronicle. “We’ve been warned of things like this – because of public sentiment nationally and events over the last few years… It’s just horrific. That’s the only way to describe it.”