Houston, TX – Harris County Constable’s Office (HCCO) Deputy Constable Kareem Atkins was murdered in the line of duty during an ambush attack on Saturday.
Deputy Atkins, 30, was working a secondary employment security job at the 45 Norte Sport Bar in the 4000-block of North Freeway with two fellow HCCO deputy constables when they were alerted about a disturbance out in the parking lot at about 2:15 a.m., KHOU reported.
Investigators later said the incident may have been a robbery.
Deputy Constable Atkins and Deputy Constable Darryl Garrett, 28, were in the process of arresting a suspect when a gunman armed with an AR-15 opened fire on them from behind a vehicle, according to KHOU.
The two deputy constables “were just totally ambushed,” Houston Police Department (HPD) Executive Assistant Chief James Jones later told CNN.
Deputy Constable Juqaim Barthen, 26, heard the gunshots and ran to help his fellow deputies, but he was shot before he could even draw his gun, according to Harris County Precinct 4 Constable Mark Herman.
The HPD said they detained and questioned a person near the scene of the attack, but they don’t believe he was the gunman, KHOU reported.
Police are now searching for a heavyset, bearded Hispanic male in his 20s who was last seen wearing a white t-shirt and blue jeans, according to KTRK.
The three wounded deputy constables were rushed to Memorial Hermann Hospital for treatment.
Deputy Constable Garrett, who was shot in the back, underwent surgery and remained hospitalized in intensive care, KHOU reported.
He has been with the HCCO for three years.
Deputy Constable Barthen suffered a gunshot wound to the foot and remained hospitalized in unknown condition.
Deputy Constable Atkins, a married father of two, suffered a gunshot wound to the head and succumbed to his injuries at the hospital, KHOU reported.
He joined the HCCO in January of 2019 and recently returned to work from paternity leave.
“The men and women of Constable Mark Herman’s Office are mourning the loss of Deputy Kareem Atkins, who was ambushed, shot and killed,” Constable Herman said in a Facebook post on Sunday morning. “Please continue to pray for him, the other two injured deputies and our Precinct 4 family. Rest easy brother. We’ll take the watch from here.”
Constable Herman said the tragic incident is “probably one of the toughest things” he’s experienced in his career, KTRK reported.
“I just left Hermann Hospital where I sat in a room with one of my dead deputies who was ambushed by a coward,” the constable said. “What happened tonight was evil. Now, the good is going to sweep in, and I hope for swift justice. I know that the Houston Police Department is going to do a very thorough investigation.”
“My main concern is the families of the three officers involved,” he told KHOU. “I hope for swift and quick justice for that individual because he ambushed my deputies.”
Deputy Atkins leaves behind his wife as well as his two-year-old daughter and six-month-old son, KHOU reported.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott ordered that all flags be lowered to half-staff in Deputy Akins’ honor.
PRAYERS TO THE HARRIS COUNTY DEPUTY CONSTABLES AND OUR FALLEN HERO: 🙏🙏🙏 pic.twitter.com/3znBn8pQLk
— Diane (@POLICEINFLA) October 17, 2021
Our dear friends at @Pct4Constable are mourning the loss of one of their own today while two more deputies remain in the hospital. Please join me in prayer for the families involved. Fly high, we’ve got it from here. pic.twitter.com/fuEWl8qezk
— Laurie L.Christensen (@Chiefllc) October 16, 2021
@PearlandPD is saddened by the news of the loss of a Harris County Deputy Constable who was killed in the line of duty early this morning. Continued prayers and support to the brave men and women of the Harris County Constable Office 4th Pct. during theses difficult times. pic.twitter.com/kk9h5yplzC
— Pearland Police (@PearlandPD) October 16, 2021
Our hearts are heavy as we extend our condolonces to @Pct4Constable. They tragically lost one deputy & two more are injured after being shot early this morning. Sending our thoughts and prayers to the deputy’s family, friends & coworkers during this exceptionally difficult time.
— Ed Gonzalez (@SheriffEd_HCSO) October 16, 2021
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Harris County Constable’s Office Deputy Constable Kareem Atkins, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Deputy Constable Kareem Atkins, your life mattered.