Off-duty deputy dies after being shot whereas attempting to cease theft in north Harris County

Off-duty deputy dies after being shot while trying to stop theft in north Harris County

2022-04-02 02:20:29

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) — Two males have been charged with capital homicide within the dying of off-duty Harris County Sheriff’s Workplace deputy Darren Almendarez, who was shot in a grocery retailer car parking zone.

Sheriff Ed Gonzalez mentioned Almendarez was shot whereas confronting suspected automotive burglars outdoors the Joe V’s Good Store within the 2900 block of FM 1960 at Aldine Westfield at about 8:35 p.m. Thursday.

“We bought one male shot within the chest,” first responders may very well be heard reporting on radio site visitors.

Deputies mentioned Almendarez and his spouse had been strolling again to their truck when he noticed a black, four-door Nissan Altima backed as much as his automobile. Two males had been below his truck and it appeared that they had been attempting to steal the catalytic converter, officers mentioned.

Gonzalez mentioned Almendarez informed his spouse to remain again as he approached the suspects’ automotive, which now had three males inside. That is when one of many three males began capturing.

The deputy was hit a number of instances, however was in a position to shoot again, hitting not less than two of the suspects.

The suspects then sped off.

Almendarez was transported to Houston Northwest Hospital, the place he was pronounced lifeless.

Two of the suspects, 23-year-old Joshua Stewart and 19-year-old Fredarias Henry Clark, arrived on the similar hospital in the identical Altima from the car parking zone. Each males had gunshot wounds.

Stewart is in jail.

Police are searching for a 3rd man, believed to be a 17- to 19-year-old Black man with a medium complexion and braided hair, for questioning.

Video from the scene exhibits simply how a lot gunfire there was. The windshield of the suspects’ automotive was coated in bullet holes.

Gonzalez mentioned Almendarez protected his spouse in his remaining moments alive.

“At a private stage and as sheriff, that is evil. We have got evil people which might be on the market,” Gonzalez mentioned of the capturing.

Almendarez was a 23-year veteran with the sheriff’s workplace. He was assigned to the auto theft division.

“As a result of I do know him personally, professionally, I can say he would have finished the identical factor,” Chief Deputy Edison Toquica mentioned. “Sarcastically, it simply occurred to have been his truck.”

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner launched an announcement Friday morning about Almendarez’s dying.

“I’m deeply saddened by the dying of Deputy Darren Almendarez. We mourn with our brothers and sisters at Harris County Sheriff’s Workplace, and we prolong our help to them as they grieve the lack of the 23-year veteran. Legislation enforcement is an inherently harmful job, however what occurred is unacceptable. It’s a horrible day when a household journey to a grocery retailer ends in violence and lack of life. Deputy Almendarez will probably be remembered as a loyal public servant who died whereas defending his spouse. I ask everybody to hitch me in praying for the deputy’s household, his coworkers, and for the mindless violence to finish.”

Gov. Greg Abbott additionally launched an announcement, saying that the state could be prepared to offer all assets essential to deliver justice to the household and family members of Deputy Almendarez.

“Deputy Darren Almendarez misplaced his life whereas answering the decision to serve and defend his fellow Texans, and this tragedy is a heartbreaking reminder of the sacrifices our regulation enforcement officers make each on and off responsibility. The State of Texas is able to present all assets essential to deliver justice to the household and family members of Deputy Almendarez. I ask that Texans be part of Cecilia and me in prayer for Deputy Almendarez’s household and for the continued security of all of our regulation enforcement officers throughout the Lone Star State.”

Deputies had been investigating a second crime scene lower than a mile down the highway at a Circle Ok, the place investigators taped off the car parking zone and towed away a SUV.

At that scene, authorities collected a gun they thought was associated. Nevertheless, ABC13 has discovered that based mostly on surveillance video, the weapon will not be related to this capturing.

For extra on this story, observe Courtney Fischer on Fb, Twitter and Instagram.

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