Off-duty Texas veteran accused of pulling gun in money tiff

Suzannah Gonzales and Robert Elder, AMERICAN-STATESMAN STAFF

Copyright 2006 The Austin American Statesman

A 17-year veteran Austin police officer was arrested just before noon Saturday and charged with aggravated assault after his colleagues said that, while off duty Friday night, he threatened a man with a revolver during a disagreement about invested money.

Officer Robert Jackson, 48, remained at the Travis County jail Saturday night. His bail was set at $50,000. He has been placed on restricted duty at home, with pay, pending the outcome of the criminal and Internal Affairs investigations, police said.

The second-degree felony carries a fine of up to $10,000 and up to 20 years in jail. The case will be presented to a grand jury by the Travis County District Attorney's Office.

About 8:40 p.m. Friday, Jackson confronted Edward Karaback, with whom he had invested $25,000, inside Karaback's apartment at 3816 S. Lamar Blvd., Austin assistant chief Cathy Ellison said.

Jackson thought Karaback owed him money from the investments, according to police spokeswoman Laura Albrecht.

Jackson pointed a revolver in Karaback's direction, Ellison said.

Karaback "felt threatened," she said. "He felt he was going to be shot."

Late Saturday, Karaback gave this account of the incident:

He said he opened the door, and Jackson emerged from behind a mutual friend, who was not identified by Karaback or police, who had accompanied Jackson. He said Jackson came through the door and pulled a gun out of the right side of his sweatshirt pocket.

Karaback said bullets spilled from Jackson's gun.

Karaback said Jackson said, "I can't use those; those are Austin police issued," Then Karaback said Jackson said, "But I can use this one," and Jackson pulled one bullet from his left sweatshirt pocket.

Karaback said their mutual friend eventually intervened and persuaded Jackson to leave.

Bankruptcy Court records in Austin show that an Edward Leon Karaback filed for personal bankruptcy on Jan. 10 and owes $35,000 to a Robert Jackson of Kyle. The debt was listed as a personal loan.

Karaback confirmed Saturday that he did file for bankruptcy and does owe Jackson the money. He said Jackson loaned him the money to invest in stocks.

Karaback listed about $153,000 in debts, mostly to credit card companies, and less than $50,000 in assets. Jackson is listed as his largest creditor.

Karaback said he is currently a contract driver with Noble Logistic Services Inc. in Austin.

Karaback said he and Jackson met in 2001 through the mutual friend. . Karaback said he and Jackson invested in "penny stocks," a term that refers to small-market-value stocks that trade for under $5 a share. These stocks are often traded on the lightly regulated over-the-counter market and are much more volatile than large-company stocks.

From 2001 to 2003, Jackson invested with Karaback, Ellison said. From 2003 to 2005, Jackson was getting a return from his investments.

Jackson "does have some discipline history," Ellison said, but could not elaborate Saturday. The previous incidents were "nothing of this magnitude," she said.

"It's unfortunate. It's disappointing. We're here to protect folks, not cause harm."

sgonzales@statesman.com; 445-3851

relder@statesman.com; 445-3671

Reporter Dick Stanley contributed. 
January 22, 2006

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