In Memoriam 2019

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Supervisor Deputy US Marshal
Norm Merkel
US Marshal’s Service Corpus Christi, Texas

End of Watch: Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Supervisory Deputy U.S. Marshal Norm Merkel suffered a fatal heart attack while participating in his agency’s wellness program inside the United States Courthouse in Corpus Christi, Texas.

A court security officer performed CPR after he was located but was unable to revive him.

Deputy Marshal Merkel was a U.S. Army veteran. He had served with the United States Marshals Service for 18 years and was the commander of the Gulf Coast Violent Offenders Task Force. He had previously served with the McIntosh County Sheriff’s Office, North Dakota, for three years. He is survived by his mother and two sisters.
 
Deputy Sheriff
Ray Horn
Comal County Sheriff’s Office, Texas

End of Watch: Thursday, January 17, 2019

Deputy Sheriff Ray Horn suffered a fatal heart attack shortly after participating in his agency’s mandatory physical fitness testing.

He had completed the testing and left the facility when he suffered the heart attack while driving his patrol near the intersection of FM 2009 and Dimrock, in Schertz, at 5:15 pm. His patrol car then collided with two other vehicles at the intersection. He was transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.
 
US Customs Agent
Domingo “Mingo” Lopez Jr.
US Customs Services, Harlingen, Texas

End of Watch: Tuesday, January 29, 2019

DOMINGO LOPEZ JR. 69, entered eternal rest on Tuesday, January 29, 2019 surrounded by his loved ones. Domingo retired from United States Custom Services after 33 years of service. Left to cherish his memory is his wife Diana R. Davila Lopez of Brownsville; 1 Daughter: Jessica Marie Cherry (Phillip) of Brownsville; 1 Sister: Maria Alicia Flores of Eagle Pass. Domingo was also survived by 2 grandchildren: Hawkins Cherry and Kalysta Cherry and numerous nieces and nephews.
Mingo competed in the Texas Police Games for over 20+ years in Racquetball and other events.
 
US Border Patrol Agent
Donna Doss
United States Department of Homeland Security – Customs and Border Protection – United States Border Patrol, U.S. Government

End of Watch: Saturday, February 2, 2019

Border Patrol Agent Donna Doss was struck and killed by a vehicle on the south service road of I-20 near mile marker 276, between Tye and Merkel, Texas.

She had responded to the location to assist a Texas Department of Public Safety trooper determine the status of a subject believed to be in the country illegally.

Agent Doss had served with the United States Border Patrol for 16 years and was assigned to the Del Rio Sector. She is survived by her husband, two stepsons, parents, brother, and sister.
 
Police Officer
Nathan Hayden Heidelberg
Midland Police Department, Texas

End of Watch: Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Police Officer Nathan Heidelberg was shot and killed while responding a burglary alarm at a residence at 3306 Eagle Cove in Midland.

Officer Heidelberg, a probationary officer he was training, and two other officers had responded to the alarm call at 2:30 am. They were at the open front door making loud announcements identifying themselves when the homeowner opened fire toward the flashlight Officer Heidelberg was holding. Officer Heidelberg was struck by a round above his vest.

He was transported to a local hospital where he succumbed to his wounds at 8:30 am.

The homeowner who shot him was arrested and charged with manslaughter.

Officer Heidelberg had served with the Midland Police Department for five years.
 
Deputy Sheriff
Peter Herrera
El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, Texas

End of Watch: Sunday, March 24, 2019

Deputy Sheriff Peter Herrera succumbed to wounds sustained when he was shot after pulling over a vehicle in San Elizario at 1:50 am.

He had stopped the vehicle for a registration violation near the corner of Chicken Ranch Road and Socorro Road. He approached the car and asked the driver to step out. As the driver exited the vehicle he fired 15 rounds, striking Deputy Herrera multiple times. Deputy Herrara did not have an opportunity to draw his own weapon.

The driver and the passenger then fled the scene in the vehicle, but it stalled out several blocks away. The two then fled on foot but were located and apprehended a short time later by responding deputies. The driver was charged with first-degree murder.

A civilian and members of the U.S. Border Patrol and El Paso County Sheriff’s Office provided aid to Deputy Herrera. He was transported to a local hospital in critical condition where he succumbed to his wounds two days later.

Deputy Herrera had served with the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office for 11 years. He is survived by his wife.
 
Police Officer
Andrew Howe
Marble Falls Police Department, Texas

End of Watch: Friday, April 26, 2019

Officer Andrew Howe, a Marble Falls police officer was killed in a motorcycle accident the morning of Friday, April 26, on his way to work, according to officials.
Officer Andrew Howe, joined the Marble Falls Police Department in 2017. Prior to that, he served with the Richardson Police Department for 10 years.
The DPS report stated Howe’s motorcycle had passed several vehicles before cresting a hill with a slight curve about 5 miles east of Marble Falls.
At about 5:20 a.m., the motorcycle left the road to the right near the hill’s crest and continued to travel in the ditch before striking a driveway with a culvert, throwing the driver, according to DPS Sgt. Robbie Barerra. Howe, who was from Leander, was transported by Marble Falls Area EMS to Baylor Scott & White Medical Center in Marble Falls, where Burnet County Precinct 4 Justice of the Peace Debbie Bindseil pronounced him dead at 6:41 a.m.

Andrew was active in the Texas Police Games for several years, and had won numerous Gold, Silver and Bronze medals in firearm competitions.

Andrew is survived by his parents, Lee and Carol (Morris) Howe, wife, Lindsay (Orton) Howe, sons, Hunter and Hudson Howe, brother, Aaron Howe and many aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and many dear friends.
 
Police Officer
Albert J. Castaneda
Grand Prairie Police Department, Texas

End of Watch: Friday, June 7, 2019

Police Officer AJ Castaneda was struck and killed by a vehicle while running radar on the President George Bush Turnpike, near Dickey Road, at 10:30 am.

A 17-year-old driver lost control of his vehicle and struck Officer Castaneda, throwing him off the elevated roadway. Officer Castaneda was transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Officer Castaneda was a U.S. Coast Guard veteran. He had served with the Grand Prairie Police Department for five years and had previously served with the Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office for six years. He is survived by two children.
 

Police Officer
Chief Chris Reed
Kemah Police Department, Texas

End of Watch: Friday, June 7, 2019

Chief Charles Christopher “Chris” Reed, age 50, passed away on June 7, 2019.
Chris dedicated his life to service. His service to his country and community began in the U.S. Army where he was a graduate of the Military Police Academy and was certified as a military policeman. Promoting to the rank of sergeant, Chris was a paratrooper before his honorable discharge in 1990.
In 1991 he joined the League City Police Department, serving in numerous investigative and training capacities. Chris held the roles of assistant chief and, later, city administrator. During his time in League City, he graduated from the FBI National Academy Command College, received a Bachelor of Business Administration from LeTourneau University, and earned his Master of Science in criminal justice administration from Sam Houston State University.
In 2009 he was appointed city manager of Nassau Bay where he served for six years. Chris then began his own consulting agency, but his love of public service drew him to the City of Kemah where he took on the responsibility of police chief.
Being a civil servant and dedicated leader were just one part of his busy life. Chris also passionately supported his community, serving on dozens of boards and committees, many in support of Clear Creek Independent School District. In 2016 he successfully won a seat on the CCISD Board of Trustees, where he was recently named Secretary.
Chris held numerous leadership roles in child-focused philanthropic organizations for nearly two decades. Some of the organizations that benefited from his participation and guidance include the Clear Creek Education Foundation, Communities in Schools, Bay Area Alliance for Youth and Families, Hope Village, Lion’s Club and several CCISD campus improvement councils and school naming committees.
With such commitment to community, Chris was recognized through various awards, including the Melvin Jones Fellowship for his humanitarian work. He was selected by the Shepperd Leadership Institute of the University of Texas-Permian Basin as Texas’ 2012 Outstanding Local Leader and was a finalist for the University of Houston Public Official of the Year in 2015.
Chris was a supporter of the Texas Police Athletic Federation and had previously competed and medaled in the Texas Police Games. Chris encouraged his officers and officers from other agencies to stay physically fit and to compete in the Police Games. Chris was instrumental in assisting with the 2013 and 2014 Nassau Bay Police Games.
Chris is survived by his wife, Jana, and children Logan, Chase and Alexis.

 
Police Sergeant
Sergeant David Fitzpatrick
The Colony Police Department, Texas

End of Watch: Monday, June 10, 2019

Sergeant David Fitzpatrick suffered a fatal heart attack after participating in the department’s wellness program on June 7th, 2019.

He collapsed after returning to his office after working out. He was transported to a local hospital where he passed away on June 10th, 2019, without having regained consciousness.

Sergeant Fitzpatrick was a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and had served with The Colony Police Department for over 34 years. He is survived by his wife.

 

Corporal
Jose Luis Espericueta, Jr
Mission Police Department, Texas

End of Watch: Thursday, June 20, 2019

Corporal Jose Espericueta was shot and killed as he and other officers attempted to apprehend a subject who had threatened family members.

A woman flagged down officers in the area of Stewart Road and Business Highway 83 and told them that her son had just shot at her car with a handgun. Corporal Espericueta and other officers responded to the scene and located the subject, who then fled on foot.

As the man ran he turned and opened fire, striking Corporal Espericueta multiple times. Other officers returned fire and killed the man.

Corporal Espericueta had served with the Mission Police Department for 13 years and had previously served with the San Benito Police Department for five years. He is survived by his wife and two children.

 

Deputy Sheriff
Carlos Ramirez
Kendall County Sheriff’s Office, Texas

End of Watch: Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Deputy Sheriff Carlos Ramirez was struck and killed by a vehicle while he and another deputy were conducting a traffic stop on I-10 near mile marker 533.

Another vehicle struck Deputy Ramirez and the other deputy before striking the vehicle that had been stopped. Deputy Ramirez succumbed to his injuries while the other deputy was seriously injured.

Deputy Ramirez was a U.S. Army Reserve veteran and had served with the Kendall County Sheriff’s Office for three years. He is survived by his wife and two young children.

 

Deputy Sheriff
Omar Diaz
Harris County Sheriff’s Office, Texas

End of Watch: Saturday, July 6, 2019

Deputy Sheriff Omar Diaz died after collapsing at the scene of a stabbing call in the 7500 block of Stone Pine Lane.

He and other deputies had responded to the scene where a woman had been stabbed several times. Deputy Diaz was securing the crime scene with police line tape when he collapsed. He was transported to a local hospital where he passed away a short time later.

Deputy Diaz had served with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office for 10 years. He is survived by his wife and young daughter

 

Deputy Sheriff
Jose Luis Blancarte
Kinney County Sheriff’s Office, Texas

End of Watch: Friday, August 23, 2019

Deputy Sheriff Jose Blancarte suffered a fatal heart attack at the scene of a vehicle fire on Highway 90 four miles west of Brackettville.

He began directing traffic after assisting at the fire scene. A short time later he began feeling ill and requested EMS to his location. Medics began to perform CPR when he became unresponsive while being transported to a local hospital. He passed away shortly after arriving at the hospital.

Deputy Blancarte had served with the Kinney County Sheriff’s Office for 20 years. He is survived by his wife, four children, mother, and six siblings.

 

Trooper
Moises Sanchez
Texas Department of Public Safety – Texas Highway Patrol, Texas

End of Watch: Saturday, August 24, 2019

Trooper Moises Sanchez succumbed to complications of gunshot wounds sustained on April 6th, 2019, in McAllen, Texas.

He had responded to a hit-and-run vehicle crash at the intersection of N 10th Street and W Freddy Gonzalez Drive. He located the suspect approximately one block away, in the 1500 block of South Maltese Street, and attempted to take him into custody. The subject shot him in the shoulder and head during the arrest.

Trooper Sanchez was transported to a local hospital with serious injuries. He succumbed to complications of his wounds on August 24th, 2019, following surgery.

The man was arrested following a manhunt. He was charged with capital murder after Trooper Sanchez passed away.

Trooper Sanchez is survived by his wife and three children.

 

Deputy Sheriff
Sandeep Dhaliwal
Harris County Sheriff’s Office, Texas

End of Watch: Friday, September 27, 2019

Deputy Sheriff Sandeep Dhaliwal was shot and killed while conducting a traffic stop in the 14800 block of Willancy Court at approximately 12:45 pm.

A subject approached Deputy Dhaliwal from behind and shot him multiple times. He was flown to a local hospital where he succumbed to his wounds several hours later.

Two subjects were arrested later in the afternoon.

Deputy Dhaliwal had served with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office for 10 years.

 

Deputy Sheriff
Matt Jones

Falls County Sheriff’s Office, Texas
End of Watch Friday, October 11, 2019

Deputy Sheriff Matt Jones was struck and killed by a vehicle as he and the chief of the Riesel Police Department assisted a disabled motorist on Texas 6 near County Road 190.

Another vehicle approaching the scene hydroplaned on the wet road surface and struck both officers. Deputy Jones was killed and the police chief was seriously injured. Deputy Jones’ canine partner was in their patrol car and was not injured.

Deputy Jones had served with the Falls County Sheriff’s Office for four years. He is survived by his wife, parents, and siblings.

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