Houston news stations cover memorial of slain officer at Second Baptist Church

by Joni B. Hannigan |

UPDATED 6:44 p.m. CST

HOUSTON (Christian Examiner) - KHOU in Houston Texas live-streamed the memorial service for Harris County Deputy Darren Goforth, 47, who was killed execution style while he was pumping gas Aug. 28, and then released some of the raw footage on video. ABC News released the entire service on video.

The service was at Second Baptist Church in Houston with senior pastor Ed Young, a former president of the Southern Baptist Convention, delivering some of the remarks, along with Goforth's fellow workers and friends.

Young spoke from the book of Exodus and said the blue color of the robes of the priests was symbolic of their role in protecting the people -- just like the color blue is symbolic of the police force, "the men in blue."

The memorial was one of the largest in the Houston area for a fallen officer. Many in attendance wore blue and those following used #BlueHouston on social media.

Those at the service reported over 11,000 packed into the large auditorium and in annexes, participating in the service.

Goforth was shot in the back of the head at point-blank range while fueling his patrol car. He was off duty and in his neighborhood. He was shot several more times while on the gorund, and died on the scene.

The suspect in the case, Shannon Jaruay Miles, 30, was apprehended at his home less than a mile from the site of the shooting. He has a record of misdemeanor arrests that date back to 2005, but no felonies.

Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman said all of the facts in the case were not yet known and the suspect had not spoken about a motive, but he speculated Goforth was a target of opportunity for Miles, who was looking for a police officer to kill.

"At this point," Sheriff Ron Hickman said in a press conference following the incident, "he was only targeted because he was wearing a uniform."

Hickman also said the deputy apparently had no previous contact with the suspect so the attack was "clearly unprovoked."

The sheriff speculated, however, that the rhetoric of the national protest movements over the death of several unarmed black men at the hands of white (and in some cases, black) police officers have anti-police sentiments and racial tensions at an all-time high.

"When the rhetoric ramps up to the point where calculated, cold-blooded assassination of police officers happen, this rhetoric has gotten out of control," Hickman said at the press conference.

"We have heard 'black lives matter,' 'all lives matter.' Well, cops' lives matter, too," Hickman said. "Why don't we just drop the qualifier and say, 'lives matter?' Take that to the bank."

Goforth, who had served on the force for 10 years and leaves behind a wife and two children, was white. Miles is black.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued a statement after the shooting. He said "heinous and deliberate crimes against law enforcement will not be tolerated in the State of Texas."

"Texas reveres the men and women in law enforcement who put their lives on the line every day to protect and serve their communities," Abbott said.

--With reporting by Gregory Tomlin