One constable deputy was killed and two other deputies were wounded in a shooting outside a Houston bar early Saturday morning, police said.
Houston Police Executive Assistant Chief James Jones told reporters the deputies were trying to arrest someone when a suspect shot them from behind with an AR-15 style rifle. Authorities were still searching for a man believed to be the shooter.
The Harris County constable deputies had been working a “police-related extra job” at the 45 Norte Sports Bar at about 2:15 a.m. when they went to assess a disturbance outside, Jones said.
He said they may have interrupted a robbery and when they tried to detain a suspect and were wrestling with him: “they were ambushed.”
One was shot in the back and another in the foot, according to Mark Herman, Harris County Constable Precinct 4. The third, deputy Kareem Atkins, 30, was pronounced dead at the hospital.
Atkins leaves behind a wife and 2-month-old baby, and had recently returned to work after parental leave. Deputy Darrell Garrett, 28, underwent surgery on his back and was in intensive care. The constable's office did not provide an update late Saturday on the condition of deputy Juqaim Barthen, 26, who sustained a foot injury.
It’s unclear if the constables were able to return fire, and the investigation is ongoing, Jones said. A person of interest was taken into custody at the scene. Police said he is not believed to be the shooter.
"This is a terrible time," Jones said. "We really need your help and the support of the community — the constables as they are suffering and just like we've been through this before, it never gets any easier."
Houston Police Chief Troy Finner was in Washington, D.C., attending events honoring fallen officers from across the country, including seven from the Houston Police Department, when the shooting occurred.
"We hope to have a suspect in custody soon and hope for swift and quick justice for that individual," Herman said.
"I do believe ... good always trumps evil, and what happened tonight was evil."
Contributing: The Associated Press
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Texas deputy killed, 2 wounded in shooting outside Houston bar