A Houston man charged with fatally shooting a uniformed police officer is expected to appear in court on Monday.
Shannon Miles is accused of shooting Deputy Darren Goforth on Friday at a Houston-area gas station. Mr. Miles has a lengthy criminal record that dates back 10 years, but he never spent more than short stints in jail. His criminal record includes convictions for resisting arrest and disorderly conduct with a firearm, according to court records obtained by the Associated Press.
Police arrested Miles less than 24 hours after he allegedly ambushed Dep. Goforth, a 10-year veteran of the Harris County Sheriff's Office, while he was pumping gas into his patrol car. Authorities said the incident was captured on surveillance video.
Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman said the shooting was “clearly unprovoked” and linked it to the heightened tension over the treatment of African-Americans by police. Goforth was white and Miles is black. Sheriff Hickman said two men had no known previous contact.
Goforth's wife, Kathleen, described her late husband as "an incredibly intricate blend of toughness and gentility," in a statement to Houston television station KPRC-TV.
"He was loyal ... fiercely so. And he was ethical; the right thing to do is what guided his internal compass,” she said. “I admired this quality, perhaps, the most.”
Twenty-four law enforcement officers have been killed in firearms-related incidents so far this year, compared with 30 during the same period in 2014, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.
The Christian Science Monitor’s Brad Knickerbocker reported in May that on average, one law enforcement officer is killed in the line of duty somewhere in the United States every 58 hours.
There are more than 20,000 names of such officers inscribed on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, DC, dating back to the first known death in 1791.
In the debate over police conduct today – marked by protests over the deaths of Freddie Gray, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and others killed or otherwise mistreated by officers – such figures can be overlooked. Each represents a story – an individual and a family involved in dangerous work meant to protect the public.
A prayer walk in Goforth's honor drew hundreds of people Sunday evening in Houston. The 100 Club, a local nonprofit group that supports the families of firefighters and police officers killed in the line of duty, is providing his wife with $20,000. The organization could provide her with up to $300,000 depending on her needs after an assessment is complete.
This report includes material from the Associated Press and Reuters.