Off-duty Harris County deputy shot and killed in a grocery store parking lot, sheriff says

Darren Almendarez, a 23-year law enforcement veteran, was killed in a grocery store parking lot while trying to stop three men from stealing his catalytic converter, according to Sheriff Ed Gonzalez.


Harris County Sheriff’s Deputy Darren Almendarez

An off-duty Harris County sheriff’s deputy was shot and killed in north Houston late Thursday night while fending off three men trying to steal his truck’s catalytic converter, Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said Friday.

The 51-year-old deputy, Darren Almendarez, was exiting a grocery store near FM 1960 and Aldine Westfield with his wife after buying food for his sister’s birthday party when he saw the three men near his car, Gonzalez said.

Almendarez told his wife to run away and then confronted the three men, according to the sheriff. After a struggle over a pistol, Gonzalez said Almendarez shot two of the men before being shot himself. He later died at a nearby hospital.

Capital murder charges have been filed against 23-year-old Joshua Steward and 19-year-old Fredarius Clark, the two men allegedly shot by the deputy.

Gonzalez added that his office was working with HPD to locate the third man, who was still at large as of 9:50 a.m. Friday.

Almendarez was a 23-year law enforcement veteran.

“This is a cop who was just out with his family,” Gonzalez said. “It could have been any one of us and it happened to be him.”

Matthew Harab

Matthew Harab

News Anchor

Matt Harab gets your morning commute started each weekday as morning news anchor for News 88.7’s Morning Edition. With local newscasts from 5-9 and Texas Newsroom statewide newscasts at 7:30 and 8:30, Matt brings listeners the latest news throughout the morning. In addition to anchoring, he also reports and occasionally...

More Information

Jack Williams

Jack Williams

Executive Producer for Daily News

Jack is back in Houston after some time away working in public radio and television in Lincoln, Nebraska. Before leaving for the Midwest, he worked in various roles at Houston Public Media from 2000-2016, including reporting, hosting and anchoring. Jack has also worked in commercial news radio in Houston, Austin...

More Information