HOUSTON (AP) — A suburban Houston police officer who was ambushed at a gas station was shot 15 times, Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson said in court Monday.
Shannon J. Miles appeared briefly in state District Court in handcuffs and shackles and said very little, other than to answer the judge's questions. He is being held without bond and was appointed two attorneys.
Anderson read the probable cause statement during the hearing, saying that police received a call of an officer down at 8:20 p.m. Friday. When police arrived at the gas station in the Houston suburb of Cypress, they found Deputy Darren Goforth face-down.
Anderson said investigators saw surveillance video from the gas station, which showed that Goforth, 47, had just come out of the store after he had pumped gas and that Miles got out of his red truck and approached the deputy.
"He runs up behind Deputy Goforth and puts the gun to the back of his head and shoots. Deputy Goforth hits the ground and then he continues to unload his gun, shooting repeatedly into the back of Deputy Goforth," Anderson said.
Goforth was shot 15 times and a witness saw the shooting, Anderson said. She added that the shell casings match the .40-caliber Smith and Wesson handgun found at Miles' home.
She would not comment on a motive to reporters after the hearing.
Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman said over the weekend that the attack was "clearly unprovoked," and there is no evidence that Goforth knew Miles.
"Our assumption is that he (Goforth) was a target because he wore a uniform," the sheriff said.
Miles' criminal record begins in 2005, when he was convicted of criminal mischief, giving false information to police and resisting arrest, according to records. In 2006, he was convicted of disorderly conduct with a firearm and sentenced to a maximum of 15 days in jail. He was convicted of evading arrest in 2007, and his most recent conviction came in 2009 for again resisting arrest.
Records show that the 30-year-old Houston resident was sentenced to several short stints in jail, anywhere from 10 to six days.
Goforth, 47, was pumping gas at a Chevron station Friday night in Cypress, a middle- to upper-middle-class suburban area of Harris County located northwest of Houston, when the gunman approached him from behind and fired multiple shots, continuing to fire after the deputy had fallen to the ground.
The killing evoked strong emotions in the local law enforcement community, with Hickman linking it to heightened tension over the treatment of African-Americans by police. Goforth was white and Miles is black.
The nationwide "Black Lives Matter" movement that formed after 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot and killed by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, has sought sweeping reforms of policing. Related protests erupted in Texas recently after a 28-year-old Chicago-area black woman, Sandra Bland, was found dead in a county jail about 50 miles northwest of Houston three days after her arrest on a traffic violation. Texas authorities said she committed suicide but her family is skeptical of that.
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(Photos from top: James Nielsen/Houston Chronicle via AP, Harris County Sheriff's Office via AP)