Mesquite police Ofc. Richard Houston was remembered Tuesday for his warm personality and constant smile at a martial arts gym where he and his young son trained.
Houston started to bring his 12-year-old son to Wolfpack MMA in Forney and ended up signing up for lessons himself.
"He just really took to it. He loved it,” instructor and co-owner Jerry Gonzalez said. “We moved his son up to the adult class so they could train together."
Gonzalez hit it off with Houston and the two became good friends.
Gonzalez is a former police officer himself, once led the honor guard, and knows all too well the dangers of police work.
"Unfortunately I've been to a lot of cop funerals,” Gonalez said. “It never gets easy but it's always harder when it's a close personal friend."
The two texted each other about getting together -- less than an hour before Houston was shot and killed in that grocery store parking lot in Mesquite.
"I have my (emotional) moments like right now,” Gonzalez said. “But I know he's in a better place. I know he'd want all of us to continue doing what we're doing."
Gonzalez said Houston enjoyed old Western movies and was an avid reader.
"He always had a smile on his face,” Gonzalez said. “He was that guy who offered to help everybody. He always had a kind word.
"He'll be missed. Not by just us here but everybody he touched in his life."