OFFICER KILLED IN AMBUSH: Texas Man Charged With Capital Murder

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas (BFMG)  — A manhunt is underway after Deputy Fernando Esqueda, 28, was killed during an ambush in northeast Harris County, Sheriff Ed Gonzalez announced.

Deputy Esqueda, a five-year veteran of the sheriff’s office and member of HCSO’s Violent Person Task Force, was dedicated to protecting the residents of Harris County, Sheriff Gonzalez said. “We pray with Deputy Esqueda’s family, friends, and colleagues during this incredibly difficult time. Deputy Esqueda’s commitment to duty and his sacrifice will always be remembered.” incident began just after 10 p.m. on Wednesday when deputies responded to a call about an aggravated assault at a Little Caesars Pizza on Wallisville Road. An employee had been attacked after a customer, upset about an incorrect order, pistol-whipped him before fleeing. The employee was able to identify the attacker’s vehicle, prompting deputies to search for it.

Deputies used the “FLOCK” camera system to track the suspect vehicle, which had a history of hits in a specific location. Although the vehicle was found, the attacker was not. Despite breaking away from the location, Deputy Esqueda returned and found the suspect’s vehicle. As he was calling it in, he was ambushed.

Other detectives found Esqueda’s undercover vehicle riddled with bullet holes. He had been shot multiple times and was later pronounced dead at the hospital.

Sheriff Gonzalez identified Ronnie Palmer as a person of interest in the deadly ambush. Palmer is also wanted for aggravated assault related to the incident on Wallisville Road. The sheriff’s office has released a photo of Palmer and urges anyone with information regarding his whereabouts to contact Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS (8477).

SWAT teams have set up at two locations, and Sheriff Gonzalez believes they will have Palmer in custody soon.

The law enforcement community has offered their condolences following news of Esqueda’s death. Harris County Constable Pct. 3 Constable Sherman Eagleton, the Surfside Police Department, the University of Houston Police Department, and Harris County Constable Pct. 4 Constable Mark Herman all expressed their grief and support for the Harris County Sheriff’s Office.

The Harris County Sheriff’s Office seeks the public’s assistance in locating Ronnie Palmer, born October 17, 1979. Tipsters can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a cash reward of up to $5,000. Reports can be made by calling Crime Stoppers of Houston at 713-222-TIPS (8477), using the Crime Stoppers Houston mobile app, or submitting online at

Your information could be crucial in apprehending Ronnie Palmer and ensuring the safety of our community. Thank you for your vigilance and support.

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