Shannon Miles, the man authorities say shot and killed a Harris County, Texas deputy sheriff last week, faced prosecutors on Monday.
As Miles, 30, entered the courtroom for his first appearance, District Attorney Devon Anderson detailed the shooting, which officials say was unprovoked. Miles was reportedly silent as authorities described what took place at the gas station between Miles and Deputy Darren H. Goforth.
According to officials via The New York Times, Goforth drove into the lot of a Chevron gas station at 8:30 p.m. Miles approached the law enforcement officer from behind and began to shoot. A witness said he saw a Black man, believed to be Miles, standing over the deputy and firing multiple rounds, 15 in all. Gas station surveillance captured video of the red pick-up truck Miles used to flee the scene. Police discovered the vehicle at his home and also recovered a .40-caliber Smith & Wesson pistol and Aguila cartridges, matching the 15 casings found next to Goforth’s body.
Miles was also arrested in 2012 in Austin, Texas for allegedly assaulting a man at a Salvation Army (where he was living at the time) during a dispute over changing a television channel, officials say.
Travis County assistant district attorney, Joe Frederick, stated that after the charges were filed, Miles was sent to stay at a mental institution for six months because he was deemed psychologically incompetent to face trial. After his stint in the hospital, officials found that he was capable to stand trial in court, but the charges were dismissed in 2013 because the alleged victim could not be found.
As previously reported, investigators are looking into whether the Black Lives Matter movement was involved in Miles’ motivation for the recent police shooting.
In regards to the death of Deputy Goforth, according to the NY Times:
The Harris County sheriff, Ron Hickman said, “Well, cops’ lives matter too.”
Anderson was asked if she thought the incident was related to sentiments against police.
“This crime is not going to divide us,” Ms. Anderson said. “This crime is going to unite us. People of all races were out there. That’s what’s important here.”
Although under Texas law a motive does not have to be declared, prosecutors still hope to uncover one.
One of Miles’ court-appointed lawyers, Anthony Osso, told the court:
“I just ask people to keep an open mind. It’s really easy to pass judgment and rush to judgment on it.”
SOURCES: The New York Times | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty | VIDEO SOURCE: NDN
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