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Prosecutor Says Texas Gunman 'Unloaded The Entire Pistol Into Deputy'

Shannon Miles appears in a Texas courtroom in Houston. He has been charged with capital murder in the death of a Harris County sheriff's deputy.
Pat Sullivan
Shannon Miles appears in a Texas courtroom in Houston. He has been charged with capital murder in the death of a Harris County sheriff's deputy.

Updated on Sept. 1 at 10:18 a.m. ET

President Obama called to offered condolences to the wife of the slain Harris County Sheriff Deputy, Darren Goforth who was killed last week at a Houston-area gas station.

The president called Goforth's widow while en route to Alaska where he is focusing on native issues and climate change. The President added the officer was "contemptibly shot and killed" and urged the public to "continue to stand up for the safety of police officers," according to a White House statement.

The president's continued:

"I also promised that I would continue to highlight the uncommon bravery that police officers show in our communities every single day. They put their lives on the line for our safety. Targeting police officers is completely unacceptable - an affront to civilized society."

The Associated Press is reporting Tuesday that Shannon Miles, the man accused of killing Goforth, had a history of mental illness.

Goforth's funeral is set for Friday.

Our original post continues.

Prosecutors say the man charged with fatally shooting a sheriff's deputy at a Houston-area gas station fired his weapon at the victim a total of 15 times, including in the back of the head.

Shannon Miles, who is charged in the capital murder of 47-year-old Deputy Darren Goforth, was in a Texas district court Monday and is being held without bond. Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson did not comment on a motive but said Miles used a .40 pistol during the encounter.

"The gun holds 14 in its magazine and one in the chamber. Fifteen shell casings. You can do the math," Anderson told reporters following the court proceedings. "He unloaded the entire pistol into Deputy Goforth."

According to the Associated Press, Anderson read the probable cause statement in court Monday saying authorities first received a call at 8:20 p.m. Friday. When law enforcement arrived at the gas station in the Houston suburb of Cypress, they discovered Goforth face down, already dead.

As NPR's Scott Neuman reported Sunday, law enforcement is calling Goforth's killing a "cold-blooded execution."

Anderson said according the surveillance video from the gas station, a black male with a bald head gets out of his vehicle and approaches the deputy from behind.

Miles is black, Goforth is white.

"He runs up behind Deputy Goforth and puts a gun to the back of his head and shoots." Anderson said. "Deputy Goforth hits the ground and then he continues to unload his gun, shooting repeatedly into the back of Deputy Goforth."

Anderson said ballistic tests from the shell casings at the crime scene matched the .40 caliber pistol found at Miles' home.

The Houston Chronicle reports Deputy Goforth was remembered in a well-attended gathering Sunday at the gas station where he was gunned down. Over 1,000 people turned up to pay their respects.

Goforth was a 10-year veteran of the force.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Brakkton Booker is a National Desk reporter based in Washington, DC.