Policeman accidentally shoots/kills robbery victim


September 4, 2009, 08:46 AM
I posted this as an example of why the "only police officers should have guns" argument doesn't hold water, not to start a cop-bashing thread.

If you want to bash LEO's, kindly do it somewhere else.


SAPD: Officer's Bullet Killed Victim
SAPD Officer William Karman Will Not Be Charged In Shooting Death
By Charles Gonzalez | KSAT.com

POSTED: Tuesday, September 1, 2009
UPDATED: 5:52 pm CDT September 1, 2009

SAN ANTONIO -- Calling it an "extremely unfortunate" situation for everyone involved, San Antonio Police Chief William McManus said ballistics tests prove that a robbery victim was fatally shot by a police officer during a shooting early Sunday morning.

"The taking of a human life is always tragic, and in this case compounded when an innocent life is taken," said McManus.

He made the announcement at a Tuesday afternoon press conference where he was joined by Bexar County District Attorney Susan Reed, whose office was informed of the ballistics findings on Monday. Her office was asked to investigate whether the officer, William Karman, would face any criminal charges.

At 2:41 a.m. Sunday, Karman responded to a robbery call at Main and Park streets. According to the police report, when Karman arrived, a witness directed him to Park and Ogden. That's where he found two suspects beating 45-year-old James Whitehead, the report stated. One of those people fled in an SUV with a third person, but 22-year old Jesse Ramon continued to beat Whitehead. Karman began to approach and saw that Ramon had a gun, the report stated. He ordered Ramon to drop his weapon, but instead, Ramon got up and began walking toward Karman while raising his gun, the report stated.

"Fearing for his life, Officer Karman fired his service weapon toward Ramon," said McManus.

Karman fired five times, hitting Ramon four times in the chest. Ramon was rushed to University Hospital in critical condition, but is currently in stable condition. After the shooting, Karman saw that Whitehead had been shot and it was initially believe that one of the suspects shot him.

Ballistics tests on Monday confirmed that the bullet that killed Whitehead was fired from Karman's weapon.

"Preliminarily, I believe the actions taken by Officer Karman were reasonable given the life-threatening circumstances presented to him that morning," said McManus.

The DA's office agrees. Police forwarded their findings to the county to see if Karman could face any criminal charges.

Tuesday afternoon, Reed informed Karman and the police department that he would not.

"In listening to everything that I've been briefed on, by the chief and other officers involved in this, this is absolutely, totally a clear case of justification of the police officer's actions," said Reed. "In all of this, this officer was doing what he was hired to do to protect the public. He was protecting from an aggravated robbery with the vic on the ground being pistol-whipped."

McManus said for the sake of transparency and to maintain the public's trust, he felt compelled to share the preliminary results with the public.

"We're called to the scene or come upon an instance when someone's life is in danger, we're going to take the appropriate measure," added McManus. "Unfortunately, for everyone involved, that measure is deadly force."

Ramon and two other suspects, 21-year-old Michael Martinez and 21-year-old Fernando Rodriguez, were originally charged with capital murder. While those charges will be dropped, Reed said they will still face murder charges under the felony murder rule. Under that rule, suspects can be held liable for the death of a victim during the commitment of a felony. Karman is on administrative duty while the department continues its investigation.

As of Tuesday, police had not located any of Whitehead's relatives, McManus said.

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September 4, 2009, 09:03 AM
"only police officers should have guns"

I don't understand why you're saying this. The BG was approaching the cop with a gun in his hand. I wouldn't think he was approaching me to surrender his weapon. The cop was justified in doing what he did and tragically a round hit the robbery victim. From what's available here there is no telling if it was a round that had gone through the BG, a ricochet, or a miss, none of which any shooter is immune to.

September 4, 2009, 09:09 AM
There is no viable THR content here to discuss. It's just another news story that happens to involve guns.

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