Gas station turned makeshift memorial inspires community

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Touching salute to fallen Harris County Sheriff's Deputy Darren Goforth (KTRK)

Over the past seven days, the Chevron gas station on the corner of West and Telge roads has turned from a place of tragedy into a place of peace. One week ago, Deputy Darren Goforth was shot and killed while standing next to his patrol car, pumping gas.

It was a place where people saw evil. Now, many of them see good.

"Since this happened, believe me it's totally unbelievable the response of the people," said AJ Latif, manager at the gas station.

Hundreds of flower bouquets and balloons line the gas pumps. More are laid at the memorial every day. There are letters, posters, drawings. Volunteers have set up place to take donations. They have collected nearly $180,000 in cash and checks as of Friday afternoon. That doesn't count all the money raised online.

"It's all about community. It's all about these guys in the blue who put their life on the line every day for us," said Aaron Jablonsky as he signed his name to a $500 check.

Photos from memorial and funeral

Jablonsky didn't know Deputy Goforth, but he says that doesn't matter.

"The fact that I've been blessed and can be able to do something like this, I mean that's what it's all about," Jablonsky said.

Two women at the memorial hold stickers that say, "United We Goforth," under an American flag. Lisa Ciaccao saw the design on Facebook and made it into a bumper sticker.

"I physically started cutting them out with my cutter at home," Ciaccao said.

The design and her idea went viral on social media. People across the country contacted her.

"'I want one! I'll take 10! I'll take 15! I'll take three! I'll take four!' It just it was just nonstop," Ciaccao said.

So a Pearland printer helped Cicacco and her friend out, printing 1,000 stickers for them to sell. All of the money raised will go to the Goforth family.

"We are seeing officers as far away as Long Island today and they want logos. It's like give me your address we will get them to you!" Sue Matthews said, who is helping to make the stickers.

Perhaps the most moving moment at the memorial happened Friday after the funeral finished broadcasting on big screens set up outside.

"Everybody just said let's all go out and surround our officers and pray for them," Sherry Duncan explained.

Hand in hand, about 100 people circled several law enforcement men and women. A reminder: we're all in this together.

Related Topics:
Deputy Darren Goforthofficer killedHouston
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