HOUSTON, TX – A man “believed to be the alleged gunman” in the killing of a uniformed Houston-area sheriff’s deputy was in custody Saturday morning, Sgt. William Kennard of the Texas Department of Public Safety told CNN.
The man’s mother called the Harris County Sheriff’s Department about her son, Kennard said. “All the information she had heard led to him.”
A red pickup truck was parked at the spot where deputies took the person in custody, according to video shot by CNN affiliate KTRK. Authorities had said the suspect drove away from the shooting in a red Ford Ranger.
The suspect shot Deputy Darren H. Goforth, 47, while the deputy was fueling his patrol car, Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman said.
The gunman walked up to Goforth from behind and opened fire for no apparent reason, said Deputy Thomas Gilliland, a spokesman for the sheriff’s office. When Goforth fell to the ground, the gunman stood over him and shot him some more, Gilliland said. Goforth died at the scene.
“He was literally gunned down in what appears to be an unprovoked, execution-style killing,” Hickman said. “I have been in law enforcement for 45 years, I have never seen anything this cold-blooded.”
‘He did not say anything’
The gunman gave no indication of his motive. He drove away after the shooting in a red Ford Ranger, authorities said.
“He (the suspect) did not say anything,” Gilliland said. “If anyone saw anything … any leads we can get.”
Gilliland declined to name the suspect, saying they are still going over video from the gas station.
Authorities urged any witnesses in the area to come forward, saying some bystanders called 911 to report the shooting.
About 30 minutes before the shooting, Goforth had investigated an accident, but authorities said it’s unclear whether there was a connection to the attack.
A husband and father
Goforth leaves behind a wife and two children.
“Our hearts go out to them,” Hickman said, asking the community to remember his family in prayer.
“In times like these, it’s important to ask for the prayers from this community,” he said. ” … It strikes us in the heart to simply be a target because you are wearing a badge.”
Hickman vowed the suspect will be held accountable.
“We will hunt this person down and do our best to bring this person to justice,” he said.
After the news conference, he led a group of law enforcement officials in prayer, their heads bowed solemnly.
Leading causes of officer deaths
Including the attack Friday, 23 law enforcement officers have been shot to death so far this year nationwide, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.
Traffic incidents are the leading cause of officer fatalities in the U.S., followed by shootings.