Thousands mourn Texas sheriff’s deputy who was gunned down at gas pump
Thousands of law enforcement officers stood at attention to form a wall Friday outside one of Houston’s largest churches as a 21-gun salute and flyover by police helicopters were carried out in honor of a slain sheriff’s deputy.
The symbolic gestures followed the funeral for Harris County Sheriff’s Deputy Darren Goforth, who was gunned down at a gas pump a week ago.
“We come to this place with heavy hearts, and have questions we don’t really understand,” Lt. Don Savell, the sheriff’s department chaplain, said as the ceremony began. “We gather to share the grief we all feel and perhaps to find the strength to bear our sorrow and to look for seeds of hope.”
Second Baptist Church, which holds 7,000 people, was filled. Some officers stood outside and watched the nearly two-hour service on big-screen televisions, while other spectators gathered outside the suburban convenience store where Goforth was killed to view the funeral on screens set up there. Flowers, balloons, posters and written messages in memory of Goforth still surround the pump where he was shot.
Goforth, 47, was in uniform when he was killed while fueling his patrol car. A 30-year-old Houston man is charged with capital murder, and investigators are trying to determine a motive.
“Darren Goforth was one of the good guys, one that made a difference,” Sheriff Ron Hickman said during the funeral. He said Goforth’s life was taken “senselessly and in an act of cowardice” the night of Aug. 28 but that he and others “will answer calls in Darren’s honor.”
He said 11,000 officers from “coast to coast” had come to pay respects.
Outside the church after the service, Hickman gave Goforth’s wife, Kathleen, the flag that had been draped over the casket.
A line of patrol cars formed a large cross in the parking lot, and two Houston fire trucks with ladders extended formed an arch with a flag extended at the top. People lined streets as the funeral procession drove away.
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