Hundreds of people showed up at a Texas gas station Saturday to pay tribute to a sheriff’s deputy who was gunned down from behind after filling up his patrol car the night before.
Many who attended the vigil for Harris County sheriff’s deputy Darren H. Goforth said they were there to support the police, and some said they were frustrated with the "black lives matter" movement and what they said was an increased hostility against all police.
Those who knew Goforth described him as "just a really nice guy."
"It's not fair," said Mikayla De Los Santos, whose father was friends with Goforth, through tears.
"When we were younger and we used to be home alone, he would always drive by and check to make sure we were OK," said Simone Langland, who has been friends with De Los Santos since childhood. "It's just so sad, and it's not fair he couldn't even defend himself," she said.
Goforth, 47, a father of two, was ambushed by a gunman who shot him from behind at the gas station at around 8:20 p.m. (9:20 p.m. ET) Friday, police said. The gunman then shot the 10-year veteran again as he was on the ground.
On Saturday, suspect Shannon Miles, 30, was arrested and charged with capital murder. A motive has not been determined. Miles is black. Goforth is white.
"I wanted to demonstrate that all lives matter, regardless of color," said Carol Hayes, an African American woman who attended the vigil. Her family was one of the first black families to move to the neighborhood nearly 30 years ago, she said, and they always felt welcome.
Miles is charged with capital murder and is being held without bond, according to jail records. Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman called the killing a "senseless and cowardly act."
The crowd was led in a prayer. Balloons and flowers had been placed around the gas pump where the deputy was killed.
"This is really a senseless act," one of those who attended the vigil, Calvin Mitchell, said. "What did he do to deserve this?" he said.
Goforth had just filled up his patrol car at a Chevron gas station when a man "walked up behind him and literally shot him to death," Hickman said at a news conference overnight.
Hickman said investigators believe there had been no previous contact between Goforth and Miles before the shooting, and the killing appears to have been unprovoked.
While a motive in the killing has not been determined, some of those who attended the vigil were angry over what they said was a climate of mistrust toward police, and a lack of support for officers from politicians.
"I think there’s a lot of people getting sick and tired of the way police are being portrayed — anytime there’s a shooting and stuff, automatically they're guilty now," Mark Langland, Simone’s father, said. "I think it's gone from the President on down. He has set the tone."
"I’m just tired of the double standard," he said.