State to seek death penalty on 2 other suspects in murder of HCSO Deputy Darren Almendarez

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- Two more suspects accused in the murder of Harris County Sheriff's Office Deputy Darren Almendarez are scheduled to appear in court Tuesday morning, and prosecutors said they plan to seek the death penalty.

Joshua Stewart, 23, Frederick Tardy, 17, and Federias Clark, 19, are all charged in Almendarez's killing.

"At this time, we're planning to pursue the death penalty," said prosecutor Keith Houston from the Harris County District Attorney's Office. "It's a new case. We have to look at the evidence. At this time, were planning to pursue the death penalty."

On Monday, a judge denied bond for Stewart.

The defendants are accused of shooting Almendarez, who was off duty at the time of the crime and was shopping when deputies said he caught the suspects trying to steal a catalytic converter from his truck.

SEE RELATED STORY: State to seek death penalty in murder of HCSO Deputy Darren Almendarez

Deputies said Almendarez caught all three suspects in the act in the parking lot of Joe V's Smart Shop in the 2900 block of FM 1960 at Aldine Westfield on Thursday evening.

On Monday's court hearing, we learned that Clark was the driver of the getaway car and he allegedly was the first to open fire at Almendarez.

Clark allegedly warned Tardy and Stewart to get back in the car as Almendarez approached his truck. The men had cordless cutting tools.

The suspects claim Almendarez shot at them first. Although, security camera footage shows Clark fired shots before Almendarez.

"The driver, later identified as this defendant, opened the front driver door, displayed a handgun outside the vehicle over the door frame, shooting towards the complainant. The complainant then pointed his handgun toward the vehicle while approaching. When he reached the driver's side door, he grabbed this defendant's handgun as he discharged it in the direction of the complainant," the court clerk read.

As the suspects drove away, Almendarez continued shooting at them as more shots may have been fired from the suspects' car, ABC13 learned Monday in court.

The three men are believed to be involved in a bigger crew that steals catalytic converters.

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Authorities say Deputy Almendarez protected his wife in his final moments.

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