HOUSTON – Harris County Precinct 4 Constable Mark Herman said that there is a solemn feeling amongst deputies this week.
“Our entire department is heartbroken,” said Herman.
The department is making preparations for the funeral of 30-year-old Deputy Kareem Atkins.
Deputy Atkins was shot and killed after he and two other deputies-- Juqaim Barthen and Darrell Garrett-- were ambushed by a man with a rifle while they were working an extra shift at a bar on the North Freeway. Barthen was shot in the leg and Garrett sustained injuries to his back.
Herman said that this violent death has been traumatic. Deputy Atkins was a husband, father of two children and a friend to many. Herman said that on the night of the shooting, one of the first deputies who arrived at the scene performed CPR on Atkins in an attempt to revive him.
“We are working with him and we have three agencies we are using for personnel should they need to speak with someone or have some counseling, things of that nature,” said Herman.
On Wednesday, authorities announced an increase in the reward for information leading to the arrest of the gunman. With assistance from billionaire Tillman Fertitta and an anonymous private citizen, the reward has been increased to $75,000 -- up from Houston Crime Stopper’s $10,000 reward. Fertitta contributed $40,000, while anonymous citizen contributed $25,000.
Funeral arrangements for Atkins will take place on Monday at Champions Forest Baptist Church.
“We are a family, it is very solemn at this time,” said Herman. “We have to stay focused, there is more work to be done out here fighting crime and taking care of our citizens.”