A gunman “came out of nowhere” and fired on constable’s deputies who were trying to detain someone else outside a Houston bar early Saturday, ultimately killing one deputy and injuring two others, a constable said.
Deputy Kareem Atkins, 30, died from his gun shot injuries, according to a statement posted on Facebook by Harris County Precinct 4 Constable Mark Herman, which identified the three deputies involved. Atkins is survived by his wife and 2-month-old baby.
The two deputies injured were identified as as Darrell Garrett, 28, and Juqaim Barthen, 26. Garrett was shot in the back, underwent surgery and was in the ICU Saturday afternoon, the statement said. Barthen was “immediately shot and immobilized,” it added, without going into further detail.
Police say they’re looking for the shooter. One person was taken into custody, but authorities later confirmed that person is not believed to be the shooter.
“Deputies Atkins, Garrett, and Barthen are true law enforcement heroes that were cowardly ambushed while serving and protecting their community,” Herman said in the Facebook statement.
The shooting happened around 2:15 a.m., after at least two of the Precinct 4 constable deputies – working an extra job at 45 Norte Sports Bar – went outside to address a disturbance, authorities said.
“It turns out it may have been a robbery they were intervening in … probably unknown to them at the time,” Jones said.
While the two deputies were trying to detain a suspect they had on the ground, another person “came from around a car with a rifle and basically shot them right there,” Herman told reporters.
The shooter “came out of nowhere,” Herman said.
The third deputy “hears gunshots … runs out there, and when he does, he doesn’t even draw a gun – he’s shot,” Herman said.
According to the Facebook statement, Barthen rushed to the parking lot to help the other two deputies when he was shot.
Earlier, Jones, the Houston police official, said all three deputies had been shot from behind.
Investigators believe the shooter was a man in his early 20s, according to Jones. “We hope to have a suspect in custody soon,” Herman said.
The deputies were in uniform when they were shot, according to Clint McNear, a representative of the Texas Municipal Police Association, a union to which the deputies belong.
Details about the nature of the extra job that the deputies were doing weren’t immediately available.
The deputy’s death came on the day of an annual national memorial service for fallen law enforcement officers in Washington, DC.
During the National Peace Officers’ Memorial Service in front of the US Capitol, President Joe Biden noted the deadly shooting in Houston.
“We mourn the fallen. We pray for the recovery of the wounded,” Biden said.
Wounded deputy learned of friend’s death while on a gurney, constable says
The three deputies were friends who worked the same areas, Herman said.
Herman was visiting one of the wounded deputies in the hospital when that deputy learned his colleague had died, the constable said.
“Someone called him. … He found out, laying bleeding out on a gurney, that his buddy he had just been with was deceased,” Herman said.
The constable said he met with the slain deputy’s father and wife, as well as with relatives of the injured deputies.
“This is probably one of the most difficult things in my 36 years that I’ve had to go through in law enforcement,” Herman said.
“This is a tough time for Precinct 4. I’m asking for all of our community’s thoughts and prayers for our families,” he said.
A manhunt was underway Saturday in connection with the shooting, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said on Twitter.
“This was an evil act that took this (deputy’s) life. …I hope these perpetrators are apprehended fast,” Paxton tweeted.
Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, who holds the county’s highest leadership position, said she was saddened by the deputy’s death.
“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,” she said Saturday.
CNN’s Jessica Prater, Alison Main, Jason Hoffman, Kiely Westhoff, Elizabeth Joseph and Lauren del Valle contributed to this report.