HOUSTON – A sheriff's deputy in uniform was shot and killed Friday night while filling up his patrol car at a suburban Houston gas station, according to authorities.
Deputy Darren Goforth, 47, was pumping gas into his vehicle about 8:30 p.m. Friday when a man approached him from behind and fired multiple shots, Harris County Sheriff's Office spokesman Ryan Sullivan told The Associated Press. Once the deputy fell to the ground, the suspect fired more shots.
Police described the suspect as a dark-complexioned male who is believed to be between 20 and 25 years old, and stands about 5-foot-10 to 6-feet tall. He was wearing a white T-shirt and red shorts and driving a red or maroon pickup-style truck with an extended cab. Police said an intensive search for the suspect remained ongoing Saturday morning.
No motive was determined for the shooting. Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman said Goforth, who was a 10-year veteran of the force, had a wife and two children.
"In my 45 years in law enforcement, I can't recall another incident so cold-blooded and cowardly," Hickman said.
Sheriff's office spokesman Deputy Thomas Gilliland said Goforth had traveled to the Chevron station where the shooting happened, after earlier responding to a routine car accident.
"He was pumping gas into his vehicle. and the male suspect came up behind him and shot the deputy multiple times," Gilliland told the Houston Chronicle. "The deputy fell to ground. the suspect came over and shot the deputy again multiple times as he lay on the ground."
He said Goforth died at the scene. Detectives were checking security camera video for possible clues.
"We are actively searching for suspect right now," Gilliland said. "I can tell you with diligence and justice the suspect will be caught. And he will be brought to justice ... This is a very callous individual."
Harris County Sheriff's deputies and homicide investigators joined officers from other agencies, including the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Houston Police Department, in searching for the suspect.
"This is a very tough moment right now for the Harris County Sheriffs Office," Gilliland said. "Keep us in your prayers and in your thoughts."
Bob Goerlitz, president of the Harris County Deputies Organization, said the incident was "shocking."
"We've been warned of things like this, because of public sentiment nationally and events over the last few years ... It's just horrific. That's the only way to describe it."