The Mesquite police officer who was killed in the line of duty Friday has been identified as a 21-year veteran of the department.
Police Officer Richard Houston was shot multiple times while responding to a disturbance in the 1500 block of Belt Line Road on Friday.
Houston, who was married with three children, was transported to Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas and was later pronounced dead. A special donation webpage has been established to assist the Houston family with expenses.
“This was a senseless act of violence. Richard was a great officer, friend, father, and husband. Please keep his family and our family in your prayers," Mesquite Chief of Police David Gill said.
At a growing memorial outside of the department on Saturday, a steady stream of neighbors stopped to pay their respects.
“I know a family just lost their everything right before the holidays, and we want to show them that we are thinking about them and that he didn’t die for nothing. We appreciate him," Monica Obennoskey said.
Mickey Sage, a retired mechanic for the department, brought his granddaughter to leave flowers on the patrol car.
“We know when they go out, they might not ever come back home and it hurts," Sage said.
Shelly Booth, of Sunnyvale, grew up in Mesquite and also paid her respects Saturday. She said her family has several friends who are police officers with the Mesquite Police Department.
"I immediately called my husband and said, 'Please, if he’s [friend] OK.' He was OK. He was not the officer affected, but he was at the hospital," Booth said. "It’s just very sad what happened. It can happen to anybody. That’s why we’re here."
Houston was hired as a Mesquite police officer on Jan. 8, 2001.
He graduated from Session 153 of the Basic Course in Applied Police Science and was named valedictorian of his class. His assignments included serving in the operations bureau as a patrol officer, on the SWAT team for more than 10 years, and in criminal investigations handling burglary and theft, homeland security, and juvenile and gang cases.
Houston earned a Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Master Peace Officer License and Instructor Proficiency Certificate. In April 2021 a Certificate of Merit was presented to Houston for his heroic actions assisting the Garland Police Department and the Texas Department of Public Safety with the arrest of three suspects of a stolen car used in various crimes and he prevented a suicide attempt by one of the suspects during the apprehension efforts.
His recognitions during his Mesquite Police Department career included 48 letters of commendation, two life-saving awards, a police commendation bar, and earning Citizens Police Academy Officer of the Month Award in August 2018,
A moment of silence was held for Houston at Mesquite's annual Christmas in the Park celebration on Saturday. A candlelight vigil was held Sunday night at 8 p.m. at the Mesquite Police Department. Funeral arrangements are pending.
The shooting happened Friday after 1:40 p.m. in the parking lot of an Albertson's grocery store in the 1500 block of South Beltline Road, where the officer was called to a report of a disturbance involving two women, Mesquite police Capt. Stephen Biggs said Friday.
At some point a man got out a gun, leading to a shootout with the officer, Gill said.
"This is a senseless act of violence that ripped a loving father from his family," Gill told reporters in a news conference Friday evening outside the hospital.
The man police accused in the shooting was listed in critical condition with one gunshot wound. He was identified by police as 37-year-old Jamie Jaramillo on Monday and was upgraded to serious condition. Police said he's expected to be charged with capital murder of a police officer.