MESQUITE, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Hundreds of people came out tonight to honor a mesquite police officer who was shot and killed in the line of duty Friday afternoon.

A prayer vigil was held at the Mesquite Police Department to honor Officer Richard Houston, who was fatally shot outside a Mesquite grocery store Friday afternoon after responding to a disturbance call.

READ MORE: College Admissions SAT Test Getting Shorter, Going Completely Digital By 2024

Hundreds turned out to honor a fallen Mesquite officer. (Credit: Caroline Vandergriff)

It’s been an emotional night for this grieving community, with tears flowing not just from Officer Houston’s family and his brothers and sisters in blue, but also from people who just came to show their support and respect. 

Tonight, we tell the Houston family we are with you. We embrace you. We stand with you. You are not alone,” said newly elected Mayor of Mesquite, Daniel Aleman Jr.

Mesquite Police Chief David Gill was touched by the strong show of support. “I thank each and every one of you for being here tonight and sharing in our pain,” Gill said.

Lynn Nelson, a Mesquite resident, said, “We’re so sorry he laid down his life doing his job. There’s just no words to tell them how sad I am for them.”

Hundreds turned out to honor a fallen Mesquite officer. (Credit: Caroline Vandergriff)

READ MORE: Dense Fog In North Texas Gives Way To Afternoon Sunshine & Falling Temperatures Overnight

In his more than two decades with the department, Officer Houston received 48 letters of commendation and two life-saving awards. The 46-year-old was most recently honored in April 2021 for his heroic actions preventing a suicide attempt.

He leaves behind a wife and three children.

Patricia Contreras, the wife of a Mesquite police officer, said, “Every day when they leave, you hope for the best and you pray and when it does happen, you at least take comfort from the support of the people around you.”

Hundreds turned out to honor a fallen Mesquite officer. (Credit: Caroline Vandergriff)

The outpouring of love and light at this vigil shows just how strong that support is.

“With this family, joining together, we overcome evil with good,” Mayor Aleman said.

MORE NEWS: Here's How Long It Will Take To Get Your 2022 Tax Refund

Officer Houston’s funeral will be held Thursday at noon at Lake Point Church in Rockwall. The public is invited to attend.

Caroline Vandergriff