HARRIS COUNTY, Texas – Monday was a solemn day for the Harris County Precinct 4 Constable’s Office and the family and friends of Precinct 4 Deputy Kareem Atkins, who who was shot and killed in mid-October in an ambush outside a north Houston bar. Atkins was laid to rest Monday.
Here are some of the most powerful remembrances from mourners Monday:
Longtime friend Jimmy Vitela: “There will never be another Kareem”
“This by far is probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life,” said Atkins’s friend Jimmy Vitela. “I really don’t know where to start. There’s so much to say about Kareem. You know Kareem was the type of guy that he didn’t believe in friends, he believed in family and family because he considered his friends family. That’s just the type of guy he was.”
Godsister and former babysitter reads letter written by Kareem’s mother: “You will never be forgotten”
“My Dearest son Kareem Atkins, Deputy AT36,
You may not be here in the flesh but you will never be forgotten . . . “You were such a character. Funny. Don’t know where you got that humor from. You were such a great son, husband, father, brother, uncle, cousin, Godbrother, friend and comedian.”
Harris County Precinct 4 Constable Mark Herman: “He had a unique strength about him”
“Simply put, Kareem was loved by his fellow employees in the department and down in our told road division where he was assigned,” Harris County Precinct 4 Constable Mark Herman said. “It seems to me he had many many best friends. And on a daily basis I saw his co-workers routinely looking to him for guidance and mentorship. Part of the reason everyone loved Kareem was because despite his young age, he was someone you could always count on to be calm, cool and collected and really mature in most chaotic situations. He had a unique strength about him. He was a rock that we all leaned on.
“In the two and a half years that he was with us, Kareem embodies our department’s core values of honor, integrity, compassion and respect. He cared about his community so much that he put on a badge and devoted his life to protecting it.
“They have a word for people like Kareem: Hero. Kareem Atkins was and will always a be a hero throughout our community. If I had 100 Kareem Atkins, this boss would sleep much better at night.
“I’m also told that Kareem’s father, Cecil, who is also a deputy with our agency, joined us to have more time to bond with his son. Father and son, united in blood - both red and blue.”
Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo: “His life story in many ways is the story of Harris County”
“His life story in many ways is the story of Harris County,” Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said. “Almost five million people call this great county home and people from all over the world, all over the country come here in search of a place that rewards hard work and the servant’s heart. That is what Deputy Atkins found, along with the love of his life Nadia, along with incredible friendships. He started a family, he formed bonds, but none of them as strong as those he forged with Deputy Barthen and Deputy Garrett -- Men he called his brothers.
“Harris County, our county, is strong because of its people. We are a place where we put others ahead of ourselves. When things get tough, we becomes more resilient. We help others. But then there are those select few who do that every single day, who do that as a vocation . . . The way to honor Deputy Atkins’ life is by living by the values he embodied, by bringing justice to his family, justice to him, by strengthening those bonds of service, by spreading love like he did, and by honoring the heroes still here.”