James Lee Whitehead (aka Niki Hunter) was killed by an officer's bullet on Sunday during an assault and robbery by three men on Ogden Street in San Antonio, walking distance the city's gay club scene on North Main Avenue.
Q San Antonio reports: "Officer William Karman, a one-and-half-year veteran of the San Antonio
Police Department, responded to the 911 call from witnesses who saw Whitehead
being beaten. As the policeman approached the scene, Martinez and Rodriguez
jumped into a white SUV and fled. Officer Karman saw Ramon on top of Whitehead, pistol whipping him with
a handgun. The officer ordered Ramon to drop the weapon. However, Ramon
got up and approached the officer with his gun raised. The officer fired two shots towards Ramon. When those did not stop him,
Karman fired three more shots. The second round of shots stopped Ramon
but one of Karmen’s five bullets had struck Whitehead in the chest
and he died at the Brooke Army Medical Center a few hours later. Ramon was also taken to the hospital where he was charged by proxy with
murder and Aggravated Assault on a Public Servant. Police later apprehended
and booked Martinez and Rodriguez as well."
The robbery and assault will not be investigated as a hate crime: "Some in the gay community think Whitehead was intentionally targeted
for his sexual orientation, but police spokesman Sgt. Gabe Trevino said
detectives found no evidence of a hate crime, because no witnesses
reported hearing derogatory slurs during the incident. Deb Browning, organizer of the local PrideFest, has her doubts and questioned why Whitehead was beaten so severely. 'If it was just a normal robbery, you don't see that,' she said. Browning speculated the attack occurred because the assailants considered Whitehead an easy target."