On December 3, Texas police officer Richard Houston II was killed in the line of duty after he responded to a disturbance at a shopping center parking lot. The murderer was Jamie Jaramillo, who alongside his mistress had been confronted by his wife about his infidelity. Officer Houston responded to the disturbance, during which he tried to speak to Jaramillo, who then shot the police officer twice before injuring himself with his own gun.
According to KBTX, the 46 year old police officer was a 21 year veteran of the Mesquite Police Department, a husband, and a father of three children. He was valedictorian of his class at Section 153 of the Basic Course in Applied Police Science and joined the Mesquite Police Department in January 2001. Just in April, he was honored with the Certificate of Merit for his work with the Garland POlice Department and the Texas Department of Public Safety, helping arrest three car car thieves and preventing one of them from committing suicide during their apprehension.
Throughout Houston's career, the veteran police officer received multiple commendations, including two life saving awards, a Police Commendation Bar, a Citizens Police Academy Officer of the Month Award, and up to 48 letters of recommendation. Mesquite Assistant Police Chief Doug Yates, who worked with Houston, shared details of the late police officer's faith to CBS Local. He said that after their colleague's death, Houston spent his entire shift praying for their late comrade. Yates remarked, "Richard didn't just go to church - Richard walked with God each day."
It is the same Christian faith evident in Houston's 18 year old daughter, Shelby, who spoke during her father's funeral on December 9 at the Lakepointe Church in Rockwall, Texas. But many were shocked when the 18 year old expressed love and forgiveness rather than hate towards her father's killer.
According to Not the Bee, Shelby recounted how she had several conversations with her police officer dad about him losing friends who were officers in the line of duty and having "such a hard time with how the suspect is dealt with." She continued, "Not that I didn't think there should be justice served, but my heart always ached for those who don't know Jesus - their actions being a reflection of that."
Wow! God’s grace displayed pic.twitter.com/NtaQbBpAsL
— Mike Kleitz (@CRBC_Pastor) December 10, 2021
Shelby remarked that she initially thought she would feel differently until the death of her own father at the hands of a murderer. She admitted that she still felt the same and that while she felt "anger, sadness, grief, and confusion," she could not get herself to despise or hate her father's killer.
"All I can find is myself hoping and praying for this man to truly know Jesus. I thought this might change if the man continued to live," Shelby remarked. She added that a part of her was even "relieved" to know that the man who shot her father is now in a stable condition in the hospital because she eventually wanted to meet him. She said,
"My prayer is that someday down the road, I'd get to spend some time with the man who shot my father, not to scream at him, not to yell at him, not to scold him. Simply to tell him about Jesus."
Shelby Houston's remarks about her father's killer has earned praise from the Christian community, including evangelist Franklin Graham, who took to Facebook to applaud her. The evangelist wrote, "Shelby's heart is a reflection of her Savior, Jesus Christ, who is loving and forgiving."