By Lisa Falkenberg, the Houston Chronicle

Three days after Harris County Deputy Darren Goforth was gunned down at a gas station in a senseless attack that has left this community shocked and grieving, the district attorney offered reassuring words.
“This crime is not going to divide us; this crime is going to unite us,” Devon Anderson told reporters, citing the diverse crowds of people who have held vigil for Goforth following the murder.

If only that message had come sooner. If only Sheriff Ron Hickman had echoed it.

Deputy Darren Goforth

Deputy Darren Goforth

If only Harris County’s top law enforcement officials hadn’t turned a white deputy’s death, allegedly at the hands of a black man, into yet another wedge between police and communities of color.

With a motive still unclear, Hickman seemed to cast early blame on a civil rights movement known as #blacklivesmatter, which attempts to raise awareness about racial bias in policing. It was inspired by a string of high-profile police shootings of unarmed black men.

“We’ve heard black lives matter, all lives matter. Well, cops’ lives matter, too, so why don’t we just drop the qualifiers and just say lives matter and take that to the bank,” Hickman said in a news conference…

Shannon Jaruay Miles, 30, who stands charged with capital murder in Goforth’s death, and it’s still unclear what motivated him. If authorities have linked him to Black Lives Matter, they haven’t said.

It does appear Miles has a long history of clashes with police, and of mental illness. The Chronicle’s Brian Rogers reported Tuesday that Miles spent four months in a mental hospital in 2012 after being declared incompetent to stand trial in an aggravated assault case.

Shannon J. Miles

Shannon J. Miles

This may turn out to be yet another tragic story of mental illness and about all-too-easy access to guns. It may have nothing to do with race…

Officers who risk their lives to protect us are worthy of respect, and one of them just lost his life. That should be the focus here. That should bring us together.

Yes, all lives matter. But then, that was always the point.

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