“Deputies Atkins, Garrett, and Barthen are true law enforcement heroes that were cowardly ambushed while serving and protecting their community,” Herman said.
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,” Houston police Executive Assistant Chief James 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.” 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.
Earlier, Jones, the Houston police official, said all three deputies had been shot from behind.
Investigators are still searching for the shooter, and believe he’s a man in his early 20s. “We hope to have a suspect in custody soon,” Herman said.