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Story highlights

Officers from around the country attend funeral of Deputy Darren H. Goforth

Goforth was fueling his car in uniform when he was shot

(CNN) —  

Thousands of mourners gathered Friday for a final salute to a deputy sheriff shot to death last week while fueling his patrol car near Houston.

Deputy Darren H. Goforth died August 28 when a gunman came up behind him at a gas station and shot him in the back.

When he fell, the shooter stood over him and fired more shots, authorities said. Goforth, a 10-year veteran of the sheriff’s office, was shot 15 times, authorities said.

Goforth was in his Harris County Sheriff’s Office uniform at the time of the shooting, which officials described as an “execution-style” attack.

Defense medical experts and a Harris County doctor made recommendations to Judge Susan Brown that Miles was not competent at this time.

Police and law enforcement personnel came from as far away as California and New York City to attend the funeral at the Second Baptist Church in Houston.

A 21-gun salute and a helicopter flyover concluded services for the slain officer as his coffin was carried by a sheriffs’ honor guard.

Flags across Texas were at half-staff Friday in honor of Goforth.

Prosecutor Marcy McCorvey said Tuesday’s ruling doesn’t rule out a trial in the future.

Suspect to undergo a psychological exam

Shannon J. Miles, 30, is charged with capital murder in the killing of Goforth, a 10-year veteran of the sheriff’s office who was shot 15 times, authorities said.

Miles plans to plead not guilty, and told his lawyers he was not involved in the shooting, said Anthony Osso, his court-appointed attorney.

Miles made his initial appearance at the Harris County District Court in Houston this week wearing the yellow jumpsuit assigned to high-security inmates.

This is the second time Miles has been ruled incompetent. In 2012, Miles also was found mentally incompetent to stand trial on a separate felony assault charge, a prosecutor said in September.

At the time, he was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon after fighting a man at an Austin homeless shelter over the TV remote control, said Joe Frederick, a prosecutor in Travis County.

Miles will undergo a psychological examination as part of his background investigation, Osso said. His defense team will include psychological experts, he said.

Deputy a mix of ‘toughness and gentility’

In September, Kathleen Goforth described her fallen husband to KTRK in Houston as “an incredibly intricate blend of toughness and gentility.”

Goforth was guided by an inner moral compass, she said, adding that she was lucky to have been married to him.

“He was who you wanted for a friend, a colleague and a neighbor,” she said.

In addition to his wife, Goforth left behind two children, ages 5 and 12.

Shannon J. Miles faces a capital murder charge in connection with the shooting.
Harris County Sheriff
Shannon J. Miles faces a capital murder charge in connection with 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. There is no evidence that the victim and the suspect knew each other.

“I have been in law enforcement (for) 45 years,” Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman said. “I don’t recall another incident this cold-blooded and cowardly.”

Hickman said the attack was “unprovoked,” and Goforth was targeted simply because “he was wearing a uniform.”

A husband and father

Goforth leaves behind a wife and two children, ages 5 and 12.

“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 wear a badge.”

A Houston-based nonprofit that supports the children and spouses of officers and firefighters who die on duty, said the group will give $20,000 to Goforth’s family.

America’s fallen officers

Traffic incidents are the leading cause of officer fatalities in the U.S., followed by shootings.