Houston: Thousands of mourners gathered for a final salute to a deputy sheriff shot dead last week while fueling his patrol car in Houston.
Deputy Darren Goforth, 47, was shot while returning to his patrol car from the convenience store last Friday. He was shot multiple times in the back. When he fell, the shooter stood over him and fired more shots, authorities said.
Many travelled across the country to honor and give a final salute to the fallen deputy. The bagpipes played, the officers saluted and tears flowed during the emotional send-off.
Police and law enforcement personnel from as far away as California and New York City attended the funeral yesterday at the Second Baptist Church in west Houston.
After the funeral, it was a sea of blue as attendees lined the street for the procession.
Goforth was a 10-year veteran of the Harris County Sheriff's Office. He was married to Kathleen Goforth and was the father of two children, ages 5 and 12.
The Honor Guard opened yesterday's services with a salute to Goforth, and his friend and colleague, HCSO Lt. Don Savell, delivered the greeting, scripture and prayer. The lieutenant thanked Goforth's family for their sacrifice.
"Thank you for sharing your husband, thank you for sharing your daddy with us. We'll never forget him. We find peace in knowing that in this tragic event that took place last week, he left this Earth to touch the very face of God and for that, we are thankful," Savell said.
Goforth's wife, Kathleen, looked genuinely moved by their attendance. As the officers stood at attention and saluted her, she saluted them back.
A 21-gun salute and a helicopter flyover concluded services for the slain officer as his coffin was carried by the Harris County Sheriff's honor guard out of the church.
Flags across Texas were at half-staff yesterday in honor of Goforth.
The senseless tragedy has brought the community together.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott requested that citizens turn their headlights on at 11 am yesterday for one minute, and requested law enforcement officials to turn on their police lights during that time as well. He said it's a show of support for those in blue uniforms.
Also as a show of support, thousands across Houston united in a #BlueHouston campaign. Blue ribbons were wrapped around trees lining neighborhood streets and signs were visible across the city. In addition, blue light bulbs were lit on front porches of homes in an effort to turn the city blue.
President Barack Obama also released a statement Monday offering condolences on Goforth's killing.I