Prosecutors in the southern U.S. city of Houston, Texas, have charged a 30-year-old suspect with capital murder in connection with the ambush killing of a sheriff's deputy shot from behind as he fueled his vehicle.
Police said Saturday that no clear motive had been established for the killing, but that suspect Shannon Miles had a previous record, including charges of resisting arrest and trespassing.
Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman said investigators were trying to determine whether the suspect, who is black, was motivated by anger over the widely publicized deaths of several unarmed young black men at the hands of police in the U.S. in the recent past.
Darren Goforth, a 10-year veteran of the Harris County Sheriff's Department, who was white, was pumping gas Friday night in uniform when a gunman approached him from behind and shot him repeatedly.
Earlier Saturday, the sheriff voiced outrage at the killing, calling it "a coldblooded assassination." He said the increasingly heated rhetoric regarding police relations with the American public had, in his words, "gotten out of control." He pleaded for witnesses to the attack to come forward.
County prosecutor Devon Anderson also condemned the shooting and asked for the public's help.
"It is time for the silent majority in this country to support law enforcement," he said. He called the shooting an "assault on the very fabric of society" and said "it is not something we can tolerate."
An online memorial page to fallen police, www.odmp.org, says 23 police officers have been killed by gunfire in the line of duty in the U.S. in 2015, including the Harris county deputy.