Prosecutors seek death penalty in shooting of Harris County Deputy Darren Almendarez

Harris Co. deputy Darren Almendarez (Photo courtesy of HCSO)

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty in the deadly shooting of Harris County Deputy Darren Almendarez, the Harris County District Attorney’s Office confirms.

Deputy Almendarez was off-duty when he was killed in the parking lot of a grocery store on March 31. Authorities said he was shot multiple times while confronting catalytic converter thieves targeting his truck.

BACKGROUND: Harris County off-duty deputy killed in grocery store parking lot

Joshua Stewart, 23, Fredarius Clark, 19, and Fredrick Tardy, 17, are charged with capital murder in the case.

3 suspects in Capital Murder of Deputy Darren Almendarez

Fredarius Clark, 19, (L) Joshua Stewart, 23, (C) and Fredrick Tardy, 17, (R) are charged with Capital Murder in the death of veteran Harris County Sheriff's Deputy Darren Almendarez.

Prosecutors seek death penalty

On Monday, a hearing was held for Stewart in the 177th District Court.

Judge Robert Johnson granted a proof evident hearing for May 10, where prosecutors will have to show they have enough evidence to deny Stewart bail for the capital offense.

Stewart will be held without bond until that hearing.

During court, prosecutors also announced they would be seeking the death penalty, if he's convicted.

Whether they'll seek that sentence for defendants Clark and Tardy, is unclear. They are both set to appear in Judge Johnson's court Tuesday morning. Prosecutors have also filed a motion for proof evident hearings to deny bail in their respective cases.

Visitation, funeral services set for Harris Co. Deputy Darren Almendarez

Public visitation and funeral services will be held Friday, April 8, for Harris County Sheriff's Deputy Darren Almendarez.

What happened in shooting Dep. Almendarez?

Deputy Almendarez was leaving the grocery store in the 2900 block of FM 1960 with his wife around 8:40 p.m. March 31. That’s when he saw a car backed up to his pickup truck and two males under his vehicle, the sheriff’s office says.

He told his wife to walk to safety and then approached the vehicles.

RELATED: Procession for slain Harris Co. deputy confronting catalytic converter thieves

As Almedarez confronted the suspects, they began shooting at him, the sheriff's office says. Almendarez was struck multiple times.

According to HCSO, the deputy was able to return fire and shot two of the suspects. The suspects drove off.

Deputy Almendarez, a 23-year veteran of HCSO, was transported to Houston Northwest Hospital. He did not survive his injuries.

REPORT: Texas accounts for nearly a quarter of officer deaths in 2022

Authorities say Stewart and Clark arrived at the same hospital in the suspect vehicle a short time later, with gunshot wounds. 

Tardy was not with them when they arrived at the hospital. He was taken into custody the following day.