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Daughter of fallen Mesquite officer shares her father’s last text to her during emotional eulogy

Richard Houston, a 21-year veteran of the Mesquite Police Department, died Friday after he was shot in the line of duty, responding to an argument between a husband.

ROCKWALL, Texas — A week ago Wednesday, Shelby Houston was getting ready to preach at her church for the first time. The 18-year-old may have been nervous. But then, she received a reassuring text from her father.

“Sometimes it feels very overwhelming,” Richard Houston told his daughter. “But I’m here to tell you everything will OK. You got this. Remember that no matter what, me and your mom got your back. Always and forever.”

He told her to speak from her heart and to have fun and that he loved her.

“I don’t think he knew that this text would actually mean more than just another Wednesday night,” Shelby Houston said Thursday, as she eulogized her father at Lakepointe Church in Rockwall.

Richard Houston, a 21-year veteran of the Mesquite Police Department, died Friday after he was shot in the line of duty while responding to an argument between a husband and wife near a grocery store off South Beltline Road.

Houston left behind a wife and three children, including Shelby, who shared the final text she received from her father.

“Many of you knew my father as an officer,” Shelby said. “You may have seen him in his uniform, with the badge, in a squad car. But I saw my dad in a different fashion.”

She remembered the plaid pajama pants he’d wear all the time, his nose always in a book. She remembered his silver Ford F-150 and how they’d wait for him to pull in the driveway and tell them about his day – from tales of police chases to his review of the taquitos at 7-Eleven.

“Home has felt lonely without him here,” Shelby said. “It was always a surprise what he had gotten into that day.”

But no surprise was more sudden, or worse, than the call the Houston family received Friday.

“It will be a day I never forget,” Shelby Houston said.

Her father had responded to a parking lot near an Albertson’s grocery store at 1500 S. Beltline Road. When he arrived, a married couple, Jaime Jaramillo and Juventina Vazques Bences, was in an argument, according to an arrest warrant

The husband and wife were fighting over Jaramillo’s alleged affair with a girlfriend, who was also in the parking lot. 

When Houston tried to talk to Jaramillo, the man shot him in the chest, and then shot himself in the head.

Shelby Houston said she had heard for years the stories about officers dying in the line of duty, friends of her father included. She knew it was a possibility that it could happen to him one day.

But there was something about those shootings that was always difficult for Shelby to handle, she said. Suspects in police shootings are often the focus of outrage.

Shelby said she believed that justice should be served.

“But my heart always ached for those who don’t know Jesus, their actions being a reflection of that,” she said in her father’s eulogy Thursday.

If it happened to her, she was told growing up, she’d feel different. Then it did happen to her and her family. And she felt the same as she always did, praying that Jaramillo would survive.

“I can’t get any part of my heart to hate him,” Shelby said. “All that I can find is myself hoping and praying for this man to truly know Jesus.”

Written by Ryan Osborne

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