A Texas deputy shot and killed on Friday was the victim of what authorities say was a brutal execution, and afterward an angry sheriff took aim at the Black Lives Matter movement.
Deputy Darren Goforth was killed at a gas station in northwestern Harris County in what appeared to be an unprovoked attack. Surveillance cameras showed a man identified by police as Shannon Miles, who shot the Texas deputy several times, continuing to fire even after the 47-year-old officer had fallen to the ground.
“In my 45 years in law enforcement, I can’t recall another incident so cold-blooded and cowardly,” Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman told the Houston Chronicle.
Miles was arrested hours after the Texas deputy was shot and killed. Records show he has been in trouble with the law a number of times, with seven arrests in the last 10 years. In one of those arrests Miles was charged with obstructing officers’ duties by using force against officers.
After the shooting, Hickman tied the attack to a rise in anti-police sentiment, calling out the Black Lives Matter movement.
“We’ve heard black lives matter, all lives matter, well cops lives matter too, so why don’t we just drop the qualifiers and just say lives matter and take that to the bank,” Hickman said.
Tensions appear to be high in this part of Texas. Bob Goerlitz, president of the Harris County Deputies Organization, said protesters at a recent demonstration in Waller County were yelling “shoot the pig.”
Donald Jones, a former deputy who helped train Goforth, said he believes that some of the more extremist members of the movement may be planning to target police officers.
“The guy who killed him was a coward. He was executed in cold blood or he would have never stood a chance,” he said, adding, “Something is going on in this county. It seems like everyone’s out for cops…. Cops don’t deserve this at all.”
But the Black Lives Matter movement is distancing itself from the shooting.
“I grieve for the victims of violence. It is unfortunate that Sheriff Hickman has chosen to politicize this tragedy and to attribute the officer’s death to a movement that seeks to end violence,” said Deray McKesson, a local leader of the Black Lives Matter movement.
But the community has come together after the murder of Darren Goforth, with the parking lot of the gas station where he was murdered filling up with flowers.
Though police are still interviewing the suspect, they believe the Texas deputy was shot simply because he was in uniform, NBC News reported. Shannon Miles now faces capital murder charges in the shooting.
[Image via Harris County Sheriff’s Department]