HOUSTON (KIAH) — Friday is the funeral for fallen Deputy Darren Almendarez, the Harris County deputy who was killed off-duty when three suspects tried to rob his truck.

Starting Friday morning at the Humble First Assembly of God, located at 1915 FM 1960 Bypass Rd. in Humble, family visitation is scheduled from10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Public Visitation is scheduled from 11 a.m. to noon. Formal funeral services are scheduled from noon to 1 p.m.

The procession to burial at Brookside begins at 2 p.m.. Brookside is located at 13747 Eastex Frwy, Houston, TX 77039.

April 1, 2022 – An off-duty Harris County Sheriff’s Office deputy was shot and killed after confronting three suspected car thieves in north Houston on Thursday night.

Deputies were called to the shooting incident at the parking lot of a grocery store on the 2900 block of Aldine-Westfield Road near FM 1960 around 9 p.m.  Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said that the off-duty deputy, who was with his wife, saw three suspects that were in the middle of stealing catalytic converters off his truck.

He told his wife to run, as he encountered the three men.

He and his wife were out buying groceries last night. It was his sister’s birthday and he was planning to have a cookout today in celebration.

Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez

When the deputy, identified as Darren Almendarez, approached the suspects, they began firing at him, authorities said. Almendarez returned fire and struck two of the suspects, but he was also seriously wounded.

Almendarez, 51, was later transported to Houston Northwest Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

“It devastates us to announce our deputy has been pronounced deceased. Please keep his family and our members in your prayers,” Gonzalez tweeted.

“Heartbreaking. A graduate of Milby (High School) in the East End, he loved being a deputy,” Gonzalez also tweeted.

Authorities believe the suspects drove a black, four-door Nissan Altima, which backed up to Almendarez’s truck.

Law enforcement officers investigate the scene of shooting, Thursday, March 31, 2022 in Houston. An off-duty Texas deputy sheriff has been killed in a shooting on the northern outskirts of Houston. Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez says 51-year-old Deputy Darren Almendarez was fatally shot Thursday night when he interrupted three men apparently trying to steal the catalytic converter from Almendarez’s vehicle in a grocery store parking lot. (Brett Coomer/Houston Chronicle via AP)

Two of the suspects, Joshua Stewart and Fredarius Clark, arrived at the same hospital in the suspected vehicle a short time later with both suspects suffering from gunshot wounds.

One suspect is listed in critical condition, while the second is in stable condition, authorities said. A third suspect fled the scene, Gonzalez said.

Stewart, 23, and Clark, 19, have been charged with capital murder, authorities said. The search is on for a third suspect, described as 17-to-19-year-old Black male with a medium complexion and braided hair.

Almendarez was a 20-plus year veteran of HCSO, who was assigned to the auto theft taskforce.