Deputy Darren Goforth, 47, has just left an accident scene hen he stopped by a gas station on Telge and West Road. As he was pumping gas, a man approached him from behind, said nothing and fired multiple shots. Once the deputy fell to the ground, the suspect fired more shots. Deputy Goforth was pronounced dead on the scene.
An intense manhunt covered Harris County for hours overnight. At about 2:30am, authorities converged on a home on Crystal Lake in Copperfield, led there by a tip. The focus of the investigation is on the red pickup truck in the home's driveway. The suspect was taken into custody at what's said to be his mother's house. His identity has not been released.
See photos in the case
Goforth was a 10-year veteran of the Harris County Sheriff's Office, assigned to the west district patrol. He leaves behind a wife and two children.
"This is a very tough moment right now for the Harris County Sheriff's Office. I can ask you if you give us your prayers and your thoughts," said Deputy Thomas Gilliland with the Harris County Sheriff's Office. "It's tough enough being a deputy and being in law enforcement in this country right now, but for people, the way that they are right now, I have no words for what this type of person did."
Officers had described the suspect only as a dark-complexioned man who's about 5 feet 11 inches tall. He had short hair, possibly a fade cut. He was wearing a white T-shirt and red shorts at the time of the shooting and fled the scene in a dark red Ford Ranger.
"It strikes us all at the heart of public service," said Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman, who vowed to hunt the suspect down.
"It's an act of cowardice and brutality the likes of which I've never seen," added Harris County DA Devon Anderson.
"I've been in law enforcement 45 years," Sheriff Hickman said. "I don't recall another incident this cold blooded and cowardly."
Dr. Kevin Pigg, Senior Pastor of Crossbridge Christian Church, felt moved to come out and pray with deputies overnight.
"That just rips my heart out, seeing anyone die, especially one who protects us like that," he said. "You could just see the officers holding back the tears. I just felt led to pray with them."
Mckenzie Stalter heard the shots ring out.
"We were driving on West Road and we heard the shots, and when I turned and looked, the lady was screaming over top of him. So we busted a U-turn into the parking lot and that's when we saw what had happened," Stalter said.
This was an unprovoked attack. Deputy Goforth left behind a wife and two children. Please continue to pray during this difficult time.— HCSOTexas (@HCSOTexas) August 29, 2015
Stalter says she saw a woman sobbing over Deputy Goforth's body.
"She was laying on top him. She was saying that was her best friend and that he had two kids," she said.
Tonight we lost one of our brothers. This is an extremely difficult time right now for the Harris County Sheriff's Office. #ThinBlueLine— HCSOTexas (@HCSOTexas) August 29, 2015
Stalter says the suspect was gone by the time she had pulled into the parking lot and called 911.
This shooting marks the first time a Texas law enforcement officer was fatally shot this year. This is the first officer slaying in the Houston-area since 2012.
Bob Goerlitz, president of the Harris County Deputies Organization, said the incident was "shocking."
"We've been warned of things like this, because of public sentiment nationally and events over the last few years ... It's just horrific. That's the only way to describe it."
Our hearts are heavy as we offer our condolences to the men and women of the Harris County Sheriff's Office keep... http://t.co/yI1K1yjult— Houston Police (@houstonpolice) August 29, 2015
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