HOUSTON – A man with an AR-15 rifle ambushed three Harris County deputies early Saturday morning, killing one and wounding two others while they were responding to a disturbance outside a bar in north Houston, authorities said.
The deputies had been working an extra shift at 45 Norte Bar and Lounge and responded to a report of a robbery outside the bar around 2:12 a.m. Two deputies were trying to arrest a robbery suspect when the gunman opened fire on them, authorities said. Upon hearing the gunshots, the third deputy rushed outside to aid his fellow deputies and was also shot, the Harris County Precinct 4 Constable’s Office said.
Deputy Kareem Atkins died from his injuries. He was 30. Atkins began working with Precinct 4 in January 2019. He had recently returned from paternity leave. He leaves behind a wife and two-month-old child.
Deputy Juqaim Barthen, 26, and Deputy Darrell Garrett, 28, were wounded in the shooting. Barthen joined Precinct 4 in September 2019. Garrett joined in March 2018.
Garrett was shot in the back multiple times and underwent surgery at Memorial Hermann in downtown Houston. Garrett’s fiancé Lajah Richardson told KPRC 2 both his kidneys and his gallbladder were removed and one bullet struck his spine. He remains in stable but critical condition in the ICU. Richardson added Garrett will need a kidney transplant in the future.
“I’m asking for all our community’s thoughts and prayers for our families,” Harris County Precinct 4 Constable Mark Herman said. “My main concern right now are the families of the three officers involved and getting them the immediate care and support that they’re going to need,” said Harris County Pct. 4 Constable Mark Herman. “We’ve mobilized our victims assistance and we will be given them the support over the next couple of days. I want to thank the Houston Police Department for briefing me on everything that occurred at the scene, thus far.”
A person of interest was taken into custody at the scene and was interviewed by detectives but he is not believed to be the gunman, according to the Houston Police Department.
The 100 Club has stepped in to give Deputy Atkins an initial $20,000 to help with expenses in addition to family, mortgage and educational expenses, according to a statement from the organization sent to KPRC 2.
The case remains under investigation by the Houston Police Department. Anyone with information regarding the shooting is urged to report it to the HPD Homicide Division at (713) 308-3600 or Crime Stoppers of Houston at (713) 222-TIPS.
Authorities held a news conference early Saturday morning. View it in its entirety below: