Mesquite police released the identity of the officer killed on duty Friday afternoon as Richard Lee Houston II, a 21-year-veteran of the Department. He died following a gunfire exchange in an Albertsons parking lot.
Mesquite Police Chief David Gill confirmed Houston was the officer fatally shot twice in the Albertsons grocery store parking lot while responding to a disturbance call. The shooting occurred at about 1:40 pm. Houston passed away shortly afterward, at 2:11 pm, while being treated at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas.
Dozens of law enforcement officers from Dallas and Mesquite gathered outside the Medical Center to await news of the officer’s condition on Friday and stood behind Police Chief Gill as he addressed reporters in a news conference.
Afterward, the officers lined up and saluted as a motorcade escorted Houston’s body in a procession from the hospital to the Dallas County Medical Examiner’s office.
On Saturday, a memorial to the slain officer was erected on a police SUV outside the Mesquite Police Department. The vehicle was covered in flowers, stuffed animals, balloons, and notes as a monument to Houston’s life. Police Chief David Gill placed a large, framed photo of Houston onto the shrine.
Houston began working for the Mesquite Police Department in January 2001 after graduating as valedictorian of his police class. He had previously earned a criminal justice degree from Sam Houston State University in 2000.
Houston worked on the SWAT team for ten years and handled Mesquite Police Department’s criminal investigations unit. He was named the Citizens Police Academy officer of the month in August 2018 and was awarded a certificate of merit this past April. He has additionally been recognized with 48 letters of commendation, two lifesaving awards, and a commendation bar.
A candlelit vigil was held for Houston at 8 pm on Sunday in front of the Mesquite Police Department, where hundreds gathered to honor the officer. Houston’s mother, brother, and nephew were in attendance, and the fallen officer additionally left behind a wife and three children. A donation page has been set up, from which all the proceeds will go to help the Houston family.
Funeral arrangements for Richard Lee Houston have been made, and Mesquite police say the public is welcome to attend. The service will be Thursday, December 9, at Lakepoint Church in Rockwall. Visitation will be from 10 am to 12 pm, and the service will be from 12 pm to 2 pm.