Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez initially announced the arrests of Joshua Stewart, 23, and Fredarius Clark, 19, on Friday evening. He later announced the arrest of Frederick Tardy, 17. All three suspects face capital murder charges, including Tardy, who is being charged as an adult.
Gonzalez described Almendarez, 51, as "a remarkable man and public servant" in a Friday tweet."
"Humble beginnings, grew up in Second Ward and played sports at Settegast Park. From his first job as a teen at Whataburger on Harrisburg to fulfilling his goal of being a cop," Gonzalez wrote.
Almendarez was out buying groceries with his wife for his sister's birthday party. While exiting Joe V's Smart Shop, he apparently spotted the three suspects "attempting to steal his truck's catalytic converter," Gonzalez tweeted.
The suspects had backed their Nissan up to Almendarez's truck, and the off-duty deputy then spotted two of the suspects beneath his vehicle. Almendarez told his wife to go somewhere safe and approached the suspect vehicle, which by then had three people inside, authorities said.
Suspsects allegedly fired at the Almendarez as he approached the vehicle, and Almendarez was struck multiple times. The deputy managed to return fire and shot at least two suspects, who then fled the parking lot. Authorities transported Almendarez to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Stewart and Clark arrived at a hospital in the suspect vehicle a short time later with gunshot wounds, authorities said.
News of Almendarez's murder led Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to voice support for capital punishment for "cop killers" in a Friday tweet.
Almendarez, a 23-year veteran of the sheriff's office who was most recently assigned to the auto theft division, was remembered Thursday night as a "fighter." He was recently the focus of a sheriff's office spotlight video where he offered steps to avoid buying a stolen vehicle and other tips.
The HCSO is asking anyone with information Almendarez's murder to contact the Harris County Sheriff’s Office Homicide Unit at 713-274-9100 or CrimeStoppers at 713-222-TIPS (8477).