Third suspect arrested in Texas deputy's murder; Gov. Abbot calls for death penalty

All three suspects face capital murder charges

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A third suspect has been arrested in connection to the fatal Thursday shooting of Texas Deputy Darren Almendarez, who is being remembered as "a remarkable man," according to authorities.

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."

Harris County  Deputy Darren Almendarez pictured in a sheriff’s department video. Two men have been arrested and charged in his death as he left a grocery store with his wife Thursday.

Harris County  Deputy Darren Almendarez pictured in a sheriff’s department video. Two men have been arrested and charged in his death as he left a grocery store with his wife Thursday. (Harris County Sheriff's Office )

"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.

TWO MEN CHARGED IN SHOOTING DEATH OF OFF-DUTY TEXAS DEPUTY IN GROCERY STORE PARKING LOT

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.

Harris County Deputy Darren Almendarez murder suspects Joshua Stewart, Fredarius Clark, and Frederick Tardy.

Harris County Deputy Darren Almendarez murder suspects Joshua Stewart, Fredarius Clark, and Frederick Tardy. (Harris County Sheriff's Office)

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.

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News of Almendarez's murder led Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to voice support for capital punishment for "cop killers" in a Friday tweet.

Harris County Deputy Darren Almendarez and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott

Harris County Deputy Darren Almendarez and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (Harris County Sheriff's Office and Montinique Monroe/Getty Images )

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).