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Family, officers from around the state gather to honor, remember fallen Mesquite officer

Richard Houston was a 21-year veteran with the Mesquite Police Department, a father and a husband.

ROCKWALL, Texas — A Mesquite police officer who was killed in the line of duty last week was laid to rest Thursday.

Officer Richard Houston was fatally shot outside a Mesquite grocery store on Friday, Dec. 3.

During the noon service at Lakepointe Church in Rockwall, Houston's daughter Shelby, 18, gave an emotional eulogy, recounting the last text message her father sent to her. 

"I don't think he knew that this text would actually mean more than just another Wednesday night," Shelby Houston said.

Officers from across the metro and around the state came to salute, to remember, and to honor Houston, a 21-year veteran with the department.

Houston, who followed in his father’s footsteps to become a Mesquite officer, joined the department in January 2001. He served in almost every unit, including the SWAT team.

But his family and his faith came first. He prayed every day on his shift - even on the day he died.

"When I went to his squad car, there was his bible and devotional on the front seat," colleagues remembered. 

Shelby echoed that, saying it was her dad who taught her faith and love, which was evident when she extended grace and compassion to the man accused of killing her father.

"My prayer is that some day down the road, I will spend time with the man who shot him," she said. "Not to scream. Not to scold. Simply to tell him about Jesus.”

Houston leaves behind a wife and three children, including Shelby.

The Mesquite Police Department said a donation page was set up to help the Houston family. From 4 to 9 p.m. Tuesday night at Kearney's Feed Yard in Sunnyvale, the Mesquite Police Association is also holding a fundraiser to help his family.

Vigil held Sunday

A community of residents and officers held a candlelight vigil Sunday night to remember Officer Houston.

The fallen officer's mother, brother and nephew attended the candlelight vigil showing courage and prayed with the community. 

The wife of another Mesquite officer talked about her husband's last interaction with Houston. "Saw him on Tuesday. They joked and had a good laugh together, and that was the last time he saw him."

Houston had received 48 letters of commendation in his career as an officer, according to police, including two life-saving awards.

In April, he was honored with a Certificate of Merit when he helped prevent a suicide attempt by a person accused of stealing a car.