Deputy shot and killed by suspect on the run

HOUSTON, TX – A manhunt is underway for a suspect after a Harris County deputy was fatally shot while on duty Wednesday night.

The fallen officer, identified as Deputy Fernando Esqueda, was a five-year veteran of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office and served on the Violent Person Task Force. Sheriff Ed Gonzalez expressed his condolences, emphasizing Deputy Esqueda’s dedication and sacrifice.

Authorities have identified Ronnie Palmer, 44, as a person of interest in the shooting. Palmer is also sought in connection with an aggravated assault that occurred at a Little Caesars Pizza on Wallisville Road earlier the same evening.

The incident began around 10:10 p.m. when deputies responded to a report of an assault in progress at the restaurant. A man, reportedly upset over an incorrect pizza order, verbally assaulted an employee, pistol-whipped the worker, and fled in a vehicle. The employee provided deputies with a description of the vehicle and its license plate, which was then broadcast to law enforcement.

Detectives, working extended shifts due to Hurricane Beryl, used a camera system to track the vehicle’s history. Several detectives were dispatched to the area near the 13200 block of Italian Cypress Trail to locate the vehicle. Although initial attempts were unsuccessful, one detective returned to the area and believed he had found the vehicle.

During a phone call to another detective, the deputy was ambushed. Responding officers found the deputy’s undercover vehicle riddled with bullet holes. Despite efforts to transport him to a nearby hospital, Deputy Esqueda succumbed to his injuries.

Sheriff Gonzalez has warned the public against aiding Palmer, stating that anyone who does so could face severe legal consequences.