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HOUSTON – A Texas sheriff’s deputy is dead following a Thursday night shootout that occurred while he was off-duty, authorities said.

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According to KHOU-TV, Harris County Sheriff’s Deputy Darren Almendarez, 51, was walking to his car in a grocery store parking lot shortly after 8:30 p.m. Thursday when he spotted three suspects gathered around the vehicle, Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said. Almendarez attempted to stop the group, who appeared to be trying to take his catalytic converter, authorities told KPRC-TV. One suspect produced a firearm, sparking a shootout that left Almendarez and two suspects wounded, Gonzalez said.

Almendarez later died at a nearby hospital, KHOU reported early Friday. The two injured suspects are in stable condition, while the third remains on the run, according to the news outlet.

Gonzalez said Almendarez’s wife, who had been shopping with her husband, witnessed the shooting, KPRC reported. She was not hurt, Gonzalez said.

“He told his wife to run, to get away from danger as he put himself in harm’s way to protect the rest of the community and to try and stop a crime,” Gonzalez said, according to KHOU.

No further details, including the wounded suspects’ names and a description of the missing suspect, were immediately available.