Deputy Kareem Atkins: Fallen hero

Harris County Precinct 4 Deputy Kareem Atkins, who was killed two weekends ago in an ambush shooting that wounded two other deputies, was laid to rest this week.

The funeral service     was held at Champions Forest Baptist Church located on Stuebner Airline Rd, and he was buried at Klein Memorial Park in Tomball afterward.

Words used to describe Atkins during the service included loving, loyal, dedicated and fun, with many echoing sentiments of him being a true leader who was friendly, had integrity and mentored many others.

“It was something he always wanted to do since he was a kid,” his wife, Nadia Aweineh, said. “That’s all I ever heard about — that he couldn’t wait and that he’d do anything to get there. He made it.”

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo declared Oct. 25 as “Kareem Atkins Day” during the service.

On October 16, Deputy Atkins, Deputy Juqaim Barthen and Deputy Darrell Garret were working an extra shift at a north Houston bar when they encountered a robbery suspect. While they were focused on the suspect, a gunman armed with an AR-15 rifle opened fire on them.

All three officers, who were considered best friends, were shot.

Barthen, 26, and Garrett, 28, were wounded in the shooting. Garrett was shot in the back multiple times and underwent surgery at Memorial Hermann in downtown Houston. Both his kidneys and his gallbladder were removed, and one bullet struck his spine.

Barthen joined Precinct 4 in September 2019. Garrett joined in March 2018.

Atkins, who was 30 years old, had been working with Precinct 4 since January 2019. He had recently returned to duty from paternity leave.

The couple had planned to take their children to Disney World in Florida the weekend he was killed.

“I mean the fact he died the night before we were supposed to leave for Florida to take our kids to Disneyworld says everything,” Aweineh said. “It says exactly who he was as a dad and what he wanted for his kids.”

The shooting remains under investigation by the Houston Police Department. Anyone with information regarding the gunman is urged to report it to the HPD Homicide Division at (713) 308-3600 or Crime Stoppers of Houston at (713) 222-TIPS.

RIP Deputy Atkins. Thank you for your service.

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