By Brian Chasnoff - Express-News
An officer who accidentally shot and killed a robbery victim last week was involved in another shooting this morning, this time while off-duty at an East Side restaurant.
Officer William Karman had just gotten off work and was eating breakfast with relatives at La Gardenia Mexican Restaurant in the 1800 block of North Pine Street around 9 a.m. when two armed men entered an adjoining room and ordered a cashier to give them money, according to Police Chief William McManus.
A patron tapped Karman, who was in uniform, and told him about the ongoing robbery. So Karman stood up, told everyone in the restaurant to get down and yelled, "Police!" according to Darren Dominguez, who was eating breakfast inside.
A suspect fired at Karman, and the officer fired back, McManus said. No one was hit, and the two men fled out a side door.
Karman chased them outside, and a suspect fired again at the officer. Karman fired back.
"The officer believes he might have hit one of the suspects," McManus said.
The two men jumped in a car and got away. They had not been found at 11 a.m.
Early Aug. 30, Karman was flagged down at an apartment complex near Ogden and East Park, where two men were beating James Lee Whitehead in a robbery.
One of the men fled and the other kept beating Whitehead. Karman ordered him to stop, but the man, Jesse Ramon, pointed a handgun at the officer, police said.
Karman fired twice, striking Ramon in both legs, and Ramon kept advancing, so the officer fired three more times. He struck Ramon twice in the torso and Whitehead once in the chest.
Whitehead died soon after. District Attorney Susan Reed verbally cleared Karman in the shooting two days later. Also cleared by the Police Department, the officer returned to the streets a few days ago.