Funeral preparation for slain Texas deputy unites citizens and officers

As Texas prepares for the funeral of Harris County Deputy Darren Goforth who was fatally shot while fueling his patrol car on Aug. 28, appreciation for police officers is demonstrated state-wide. 

James Nielsen/Houston Chronicle/AP
Mourners gather at a gas station in Houston on Saturday, Aug. 29, 2015 to pay their respects at a makeshift memorial for Harris County Sheriff's Deputy Darren Goforth who was shot and killed while filling his patrol car.

Thousands are expected to attend the Houston funeral of Harris County Deputy Darren Goforth on Friday in a ceremony that will attract law enforcement officers from across the state and is being used to show Texas' appreciation of its police.

Goforth, 47, was fatally shot on Aug. 28 as he fueled a patrol car at a Houston-area gas station in a case the Harris County sheriff has tied to the "Black Lives Matter" campaign against police violence.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has asked for flags to be flown at half-staff on Friday and law enforcement officers across the state to turn on their red and blue lights at 11 a.m., when the funeral is set to start.

"Texans across the state are uniting in support of Deputy Goforth and every law enforcement officer who puts their life on the line each day in order to keep Texas safe and strong," Abbott said on Thursday.

Honor guard members from the Houston Police Department and the Harris County Sheriff's Office will join forces for a ceremony expected to include fly-overs by law-enforcement aircraft.

A social media campaign has also been launched asking people to wear blue in honor of Goforth.

Shannon Miles, 30, has been charged in the case with capital murder, a crime that can bring the death penalty. He is accused of emptying a 15-round handgun into Goforth's back and head in an ambush-style attack, prosecutors said.

Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman has linked the shooting to anti-police rhetoric that has been used in the public demonstrations decrying the deaths of unarmed black men at the hands of white officers around the country. Goforth was white and the suspect is black.

Miles spent four months in a mental hospital in 2012 after being declared incompetent to stand trial in an aggravated assault case, court documents showed. 

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