Police in Harris County, Tex. have charged 30-year-old Shannon J. Miles with capital murder in the point-blank execution killing of sheriff’s deputy Darren Goforth.
Goforth was on duty and pumping gas at Chevron in a suburb northwest of Houston at about 8:30 p.m. Friday when Miles allegedly approached him from behind and shot him in the back of the head. Miles then shot Goforth several more times before fleeing in a red Ford Ranger, police believe.
Harris County sheriff Ron Hickman said at a press conference Saturday afternoon that a motive for the killing is still unknown. But he said he suspects that Goforth was killed because he is a cop. Hickman said ballistics tests showed that the gun used in the shooting matched one owned by Miles.
Shortly after the shooting, police released still images from video surveillance showing a man driving away from the scene in a red Ford Ranger.
Police first questioned Miles at around 2:30 a.m. after receiving a tip. He was not officially arrested until Saturday afternoon. According to initial reports, Miles’ mother may have turned him in to police, though accounts quoted a woman who claimed that her son was innocent. The Houston Chronicle reported that Miles’ brother was home barged in to conduct a search. He said that Miles had been at work earlier in the evening and had gone to the store with his mother.
Hickman said Saturday that they found Miles through “routine research” and without his mother’s help.
— Jose Santos (@josesantosktmd) August 29, 2015
A Facebook account which appears to belong to Miles shows that he claims to have attended several Houston-area colleges, including the University of Houston and Prairie View A&M.
The latter is the university attended by Sandra Bland, the 28-year-old black women who committed suicide in a Waller County, Tex. jail in July.
Prairie View is about 30 miles from the site of Friday’s shooting. Activists associated with the Black Lives Matter movement protested over the circumstances of Bland’s July 10 arrest and her death three days later.
In a press conference held early Saturday afternoon before Miles’ arrest, Sheriff Hickman blasted the “very dangerous national rhetoric” being used by Black Lives Matter movement activists. In the follow-up press conference, Hickman said that investigators are considering that as a motive and added that “that kind of rhetoric can be influential on people to do things like this.”
On the Facebook account, Miles claims that he graduated from Houston’s Cypress Hills High School in 2003. He also claims to have studied business management at Prairie View A&M in 2003 and 2004 before attending Texas Southern University and the University of Houston.
Miles also has a lengthy criminal record.
In July 2005 he was arrested for criminal mischief. That October he was arrested again and put in jail for eight days for resisting arrest.
In Dec. 2006 he was charged with disorderly conduct with a firearm, a misdemeanor. He was jailed for 10 days on the charge. In May 2007 he was arrested and charged with a misdemeanor for trespassing. The same month he was charged with evading detention. In Jan. 2009 he was charged with resisting arrest.
A resume posted online for Miles shows that he has spent the past 15 years working mostly at fast food restaurants, including Burger King, Wendy’s, Popeye’s, Whataburger and Pizza Hut. He also worked for a month in the summer of 2001 as a youth supervisor at an organization called Church Without Walls, according to the resume.