See updates below.
A sheriff’s deputy in the Houston, Texas area was murdered execution style overnight in what a local district attorney is calling “an act of cowardice and brutality the likes of which I’ve never seen.” Deputy Darren H. Goforth, age 47, was a husband and father of two. He was at a gas station where he had just finished filling up his patrol car when the attack took place. Other reports claim he was still filling up the tank when the attack took place. (CNN)
A man shot a uniformed sheriff’s deputy “execution-style” while he fueled his patrol car in the Houston area, killing him instantly, authorities said…
The gunman walked up from behind him and opened fire for no apparent reason, Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman said.
When Goforth fell to the ground, the gunman stood over him and shot him some more, authorities said. He died at the scene.
“He was literally gunned down in what appears to be an unprovoked, execution-style killing,” Hickman said. “I have been in law enforcement for 45 years, I have never seen anything this cold-blooded.”
There’s no confirmed motive given at this point. The deputy had been called out to investigate an automobile accident earlier in the evening which was described as “nothing out of the ordinary” but they’re checking to see if it was related to that. The other obvious possibility is that this was just somebody out looking to kill some cops. The officers on the scene were already acknowledging that it’s a tough time to be in law enforcement and all the national stories aren’t helping.
Bob Goerlitz, president of the Harris County Deputies Organization, called the “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.”
Cable news has been describing the situation as an ongoing manhunt for the suspect all morning, though there are conflicting reports coming from local media outlets. One Houston station reported that a “person of interest” had voluntarily turned themselves in, but it was initially unclear whether that person was a suspect or a witness. A second report from ABC News said that a suspect was “in custody” but the sheriff’s office had not confirmed that when the report was filed.
The suspect was described in multiple media outlets as follows:
Police described the suspect as a male with a dark complexion, about 5-foot-10 to 6-feet tall, wearing a white T-shirt and red shorts and driving a red or maroon pickup-style truck with an extended cab.
I’m already seeing some frustration on social media in terms of the kid gloves approach that CNN and its competitors are taking in describing that situation. With that in mind, allow me to rewrite the introductory paragraph from the CNN coverage at the top of this article.
A black man shot a white uniformed sheriff’s deputy “execution-style” while he fueled his patrol car in the Houston area, killing him instantly, authorities said…
The black gunman walked up from behind him and opened fire for no apparent reason, Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman said.
When Goforth, who is white, fell to the ground, the black gunman stood over him and shot him some more, authorities said. He died at the scene.
Does that sound any different? It certainly seems to follow the standard journalistic style guide which is used every time the roles are reversed and it’s a suspect who is shot by a police officer. But for some mysterious reason the races of the individuals involved don’t seem to be worth mentioning in the immediate wake of this tragedy. Everyone is showing pictures of the deputy, who is obviously white. All the descriptions of the suspect include variations of the phrase, dark complexioned. That’s at least somewhat odd, since two of the witnesses on the scene clearly described him as a “black male driving a red or maroon pickup truck.” Granted, early reports can prove wrong and the still photo from the survellance camera is rather grainy so that may change later, but when you have multiple eye witnesses it seems quite curious that you wouldn’t report what they said.
In case he’s still on the loose, here is the only image of the suspect released initially.
We’ll update this later when the rest of the details are locked down. Meanwhile, here’s one video report from the scene.
UPDATE: (Jazz) No sooner did this article publish than CNN is reporting that the aforementioned “person of interest” is, in fact, the suspect in the shooting. To make the arrest sweeter, police are indicating that the suspect’s own mother saw the picture on television and thought it was her son and turned him in. Still no official word on the suspect’s identity, though rumors are already circulating. We won’t add them here until there’s some confirmation.
UPDATE: (Jazz) The two o’clock presser from the Sheriff’s office produced some fireworks and changes to the story. First of all, the “person of interest” which the national media was talking about all day is apparently either not a “suspect” in the case or they’re continuing to play their cards very close to the vest. They are asking for any and all witnesses to come out and assist them in bringing the perpetrator to justice. Let’s hope somebody does.
Also, the speakers at the presser had quite a few pointed comments not just for the community, but for the nation. The District Attorney called out those who would foment an atmosphere of violence against law enforcement officers and said that this murder was an “attack on the fabric of society.” (A point which I’ve made repeatedly here, but it’s good to hear from a D.A. behind a podium.) The Sheriff also stepped up to the plate and said that the “rhetoric” had gone too far. He stated that “we’ve heard about Black Lives Matter and All Lives Matter, well… cop lives matter too.” He went on to say that it was time to stop with such divisive speech and simply agree that “lives matter.”
So it looks like the hunt is still on, but the cops in Texas are well aware that there is essentially a war going on against them and they’re going to step up to the plate. But first and foremost, we need to get the shooter in custody.
UPDATE: (Jazz) As of the last update from Texas, we have a suspect in custody. I’ve given up knowing if this is the original “person of interest” with the conflicting report, but the officials seem to think we’ve got a winner. (CNN)
A suspect was arrested Saturday in connection with the execution-style shooting of Deputy Darren H. Goforth at a Houston-area gas station, Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman said. Shannon J. Miles is charged with capital murder. The motive is unclear.
A handgun has been recovered and tests show it matches the weapon used in the killing, Hickman said.
Miles seems to match the original video and witness testimony. The suspect has a lengthy previous history with the cops. Here’s an initial picture. (Updated: Initial mugshot photo was incorrect. Our apologies.)
In closing for this update, for all of you who thought I was jumping the gun saying it was “a black suspect” accused of shooting “a white sheriff” initially, the witness accounts seem to be borne out at this time.