While investigators are still trying to piece together a motive in the execution-style shooting death of a Texas deputy at a gas station, a county sheriff on Saturday said that the probe would look at the powerful Black Lives Matter movement as a possible impetus for the shooting.
Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman, who called the killing a "cold-blooded assasination," identified the suspect in the shooting as Shannon J. Miles, 30. Miles was charged Saturday with the death of Darren Goforth, 47, a 10-year veteran of the force, reports the Associated Press.
Miles is accused of shooting Goforth from behind late Friday as the deputy refueled his patrol vehicle at a Chevron gas station in Cypress, Texas—a middle-class to upper-middle-class suburban area of Harris County that is unincorporated and located northwest of Houston—after responding to a routine car accident earlier Friday, according to ABC 13.
"I am proud of the men and women that have worked swiftly to apprehend the responsible person who posed a significant threat to both law enforcement and the community at large," Hickman said at a news conference, according to ABC 13. "Our deputies return to the streets tonight to hold a delicate peace that was shattered last evening."
The sheriff told reporters that although a motive for the killing had not been determined, investigators would look at whether Miles, who is black, was motivated by anger over recent killings elsewhere of black men by police that have spawned the Black Lives Matter protest movement, which is shining the spotlight on police violence. Authorities say the deputy had no previous interaction with Miles, according to the report.
"I think that's something that we have to keep an eye on," Hickman said, the television news outlet reports. "The general climate of that kind of rhetoric can be influential on people to do things like this. We're still searching to find out if that's actually a motive."
Earlier in the day, Hickman invoked the powerful social media movement at another news conference, saying the "dangerous rhetoric" against law enforcement has "gotten out of control," writes ABC 13.
"Cops' lives matter, too," Hickman said then. "So why don't we drop the qualifier and say lives matter."
Watch the news conference below and let us know your thoughts about the sheriff's statement in the comments section: