HARRIS COUNTY, Texas – Law enforcement officers and many elected officials are offering condolences to the family and friends of Harris County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Darren Almendarez.
Almendarez, 51, was out grocery shopping with his wife in north Harris County when afterwards he tried to stop suspects from stealing his catalytic converter, according to officials. He reportedly exchanged gunfire with the suspects until he was struck by a bullet.
Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said Almendarez was a 23-year HCSO veteran and faced homelessness at one point in his life.
Law enforcement agencies, including Mayor Sylvester Turner, Gov. Greg Abbott, and Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, offered condolences and prayers. Here’s what they said:
Mayor Turner issued the following statement Friday morning:
“I am deeply saddened by the death of Deputy Darren Almendarez. We mourn with our brothers and sisters at Harris County Sheriff’s Office, and we extend our support to them as they grieve the loss of the 23-year veteran. Law enforcement is an inherently dangerous job, but what happened is unacceptable. It is a terrible day when a family trip to a grocery store ends in violence and loss of life. Deputy Almendarez will be remembered as a loyal public servant who died while protecting his wife. I ask everyone to join me in praying for the deputy’s family, his coworkers, and for the senseless violence to end.”
Gov. Greg Abbott released the following statement:
“Deputy Darren Almendarez lost his life while answering the call to serve and protect his fellow Texans, and this tragedy is a heartbreaking reminder of the sacrifices our law enforcement officers make both on and off duty. The State of Texas is ready to provide all resources necessary to bring justice to the family and loved ones of Deputy Almendarez. I ask that Texans join Cecilia and me in prayer for Deputy Almendarez’s family and for the continued safety of all of our law enforcement officers across the Lone Star State.”
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick on HCSO Deputy Almendarez:
“Last evening, Harris County Sheriff’s Deputy Darren Almendarez, a 23-year veteran of HCSO, was shot and killed while trying to prevent thieves from stealing his catalytic converter. This horrific tragedy is an important reminder that our law enforcement, whether on-duty or not, put their lives on the line for Texas communities every day to keep us safe from crime. Please join Jan and me in prayer for Deputy Almendarez’s family.”
With heavy hearts, we mourn the loss of Harris County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Darren Almendarez, 51. An agency veteran of 23 years, he served in our auto theft unit for the past year. Our thoughts & prayers go out to his wife, children, his extended family, colleagues & friends. pic.twitter.com/PvzsBQfa48— HCSOTexas (@HCSOTexas) April 1, 2022
Absolutely heartbroken. My heart goes out to all our law enforcement family and to his loved ones. https://t.co/Grf2vT6lPt— Lina Hidalgo (@LinaHidalgoTX) April 1, 2022
Our prayers are with the family, friends and coworkers of Deputy Darren Almendarez.— Phil Sandlin, Harris County Constable Pct 8 (@Pct8Constable) April 1, 2022
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