Three Texas deputy constables were gunned down in an ambush attack early on Saturday morning outside of a Houston bar, resulting in the death of at least one of the deputies.
“The deputies were working a police-related extra job when they responded to a disturbance by a bar and lounge at around 2:15 a.m.,” Fox News reported. “The disturbance may have been a robbery, but that was unknown to the deputies at the time, Assistant Chief James Jones told reporters.”
Mark Herman, Harris County Constable Precinct 4, initially released the following details from the attack in a post on Facebook:
- When the deputies went to the parking lot they began to arrest a possible suspect. During this time, a 2nd suspect unseen to the deputies opened fire on both of the deputies with an AR-15 assault rifle, striking both deputies.
- Deputy Kareem Atkins, 30 years old employed at Precinct 4 since 01/22/2019 died from his gun shot injuries. Deputy Atkins recently returned back to work after paternity leave and leaves a wife and 6 month old baby.
- Deputy Darryl Garrett, 28 years old employed at Precinct 4 since 03/05/2018 was shot in the back and underwent surgery and is in the ICU at Hermann hospital downtown.
- Upon hearing the gunshots in the parking lot, Deputy Juqaim Barthen, 26 years old employed at Precinct 4 since 09/30/2019, rush to the parking lot to aid his fellow deputies. He too was immediately shot and immobilized.
Herman said, “Deputies Atkins, Garrett, and Barthen are true law enforcement heroes that were cowardly ambushed while serving and protecting their community.”
“This is a tough time for district four,” Herman said. “My main concern right now is for the families of the officers involved and giving them the care and support they’re going to need.”
He added that the shooting was “one of the toughest things” he’s had to face in his 36-year career and that he hopes that “swift justice” will happen in the case, adding that he believes that “good triumphs evil.”
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton responded in a tweet, writing: “Praying this morning for the family of the fallen Harris County Deputy @Pct4Constable & for the other 2 still in the hospital. This was an evil act that took this deputy’s life. A manhunt is currently underway. I hope these perpetrators are apprehended fast.”
CNN noted that Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, who holds the county’s highest leadership position, said in a statement, “Protecting our communities is an act of heroism. The families of our three deputies have our full support as we seek justice for this vile crime.”
Herman posted “A Hero’s Welcome” on Facebook for Atkins:
Time to come home dear brother
Your tour of duty through
You’ve given as much as anyone
Could be expected to do
Just a few steps further
The smoke will start to clear
Others here will guide you
You have no need of fear
You have not failed your brothers
You clearly gave it all
And through your selfless actions
Others will hear the call
So take your place of honor
Among those who have gone before
And know you will be remembered
For now and evermore