Officers pay tribute to slain Houston-area deputy
DALLAS - Thousands of people - many in law enforcement - attended the funeral Friday for the Houston-area sheriff's deputy who was ambushed and killed last week.
Deputy Darren Goforth was shot 15 times while putting gas in his patrol car. The Harris County Sheriff's Department believes he was targeted by 30-year-old Shannon Miles simply because he was in uniform.
Miles has a history of mental illness and arrests and is now charged in the death of the 47-year-old veteran officer. His motive remains unknown.
Officers from the Dallas Police Department were among the many who traveled to attend Goforth's funeral at the Second Baptist Church in Houston.
It included a 21-gun salute, a procession with a riderless horse and a police helicopter flyover. The Tarrant County Sheriff's Department's honor guard was part of the service.
Officers who can't attend the funeral paid tribute in other ways. Gov. Greg Abbott asked that officers on patrol around the state turn on their red and blue flashing lights on for one minute when the service began at 11 a.m.
Others showed their support by wearing blue ribbons or hanging them in their community.
One of the biggest gatherings was at the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge in Dallas.
Deputies say we have to find a way to bridge the divide between law enforcement and many across communities.
"In every profession, you know, there's a few bad apples," said Det. Marcus Chavez with the Dallas Police Department. "Don't let those few bad apples, you know, taint what you think about law enforcement."
In Tarrant County, there were similar displays of support for police and for Deputy Goforth's family.
Some of the best "thank yous" came from children.
Six Mansfield police officers visited J.L. Boren Elementary, where students wore police hats made from craft paper and wrote cards and letters to the officers.
The students were full of questions that officers answered.
"It's more important now than ever that not only are we getting out in schools and meeting these children, but also for us to get out in the community and build good rapport with our community as a whole," said Asst. Chief Kyle Lanier with the Mansfield Police Department.
Other Back the Blue events were planned in Denton, Hurst, Kaufman, Mansfield and North Richland Hills.