Local News

Houston-area shooting has local law enforcement agencies on high alert

Posted August 31, 2015 5:34 p.m. EDT
Updated August 31, 2015 7:03 p.m. EDT

— The murder of a Houston-area deputy has put law enforcement agencies on high alert across the country and the Triangle.

According to authorities, Shannon J. Miles shot Deputy Darren Goforth, a 10-year veteran, in the back of the head while he was pumping gas at about 8:20 p.m. Friday. He died at the gas station in Cypress, Texas.

Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison said Goforth’s slaying hits close to home.

"Make sure you're looking over your shoulder, and that's sad, but unfortunately we've got to do that," Harrison said.

In 1972, as a young trooper, Harrison was shot in the hand when an unarmed suspect grabbed his gun.

"I was shot, and I was dealing with an unarmed person," he said. "It can happen, and it can happen quickly."

Harrison said he tells his team to rely on their training and to not hesitate.

"I'd rather have 12 people find them guilty than six people carrying them to the grave," Harrison said.

Sgt. Michael Baker, a spokesperson for the North Carolina State Highway Patrol, described the stress level for local law enforcement officers and military personnel as very high.

"You can be sitting down drinking a cup of coffee one minute, to defending your life the next," he said.

Baker said even when off-duty, the current climate has a chilling effect.

"I know myself, when I am off-duty I don't wear anything that resembles law enforcement or anything with the highway patrol insignia on it," Baker said. "At this point, I feel like it kind of puts my family in jeopardy."

Harrison said he believes some law enforcement officers will turn away from their jobs because of the ongoing threat.

"There are some that are borderline. They don't really want to be law enforcement officers or not," he said. "I think some of them will go home because of this, because of the fear factor."

Miles, who allegedly ambushed Goforth and shot him 15 times, is charged with capital murder.