Â© Copyright 2009, The Oklahoman A pharmacist’s explanation of what happened May 19, when he fatally shot a masked robber, keeps changing. Jerome Jay Ersland has given three versions so far, The Oklahoman found in a review of his statements to news reporters and to law enforcement. The latest came in a letter last month to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation. "I was under so much stress,” he told The Oklahoman in a July interview. "It had just been so rough ... that I couldn’t remember exactly what had happened until later. And, then, it gradually comes back to you over the days and weeks.” The shooting sparked a national debate in May when Ersland was charged with first-degree murder. Prosecutors allege he went too far, shooting the unarmed robber five more times after knocking the robber unconscious with a shot to the head. Ersland, 57, of Chickasha denies wrongdoing. He has been described as a hero by some for his actions at the Reliable Discount Pharmacy in south Oklahoma City. Killed was Antwun "Speedy” Parker, 16, of Oklahoma City. Ersland insists the injured robber was awake and still had a gun after being hit in the head. He said he shot Parker again to protect himself and two female employees. He has said he thought Parker had already shot him in the wrist. But he has given different accounts of what Parker did after being shot in the head and of when he shot Parker the second time.
First accountA police report shows he told a detective May 19 that he shot Parker again before chasing a second robber out of the store. "Ersland said he ran by the one he shot ... and that he ... was ‘still up there and wanting to hit me,’” according to the police detective’s report on the interview. "Ersland ... said, ‘I unloaded on him’ and he ... went down. He then chased the other subject ... out of the store.” "He just kept staying up,” he is quoted as telling the police detective about why he shot Parker again. The detective said the pharmacist referred to Parker as "the guy I nailed.”
Second accountErsland’s account changed after prosecutors publicly released a security surveillance video that shows the pharmacist shot Parker again after chasing away the other robber. Ersland said in a nationally televised interview on Fox News that he shot "the guy laying down” again after coming back in the store. "I went up to him and he seemed to be just dazed,” Ersland told Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly on June 1. "And he started talking to me and he started turning to the right. ... I’m crippled. And I knew ... when he got up, if he was just dazed, that he could kill me. ... I thought I was going to get killed in the next few seconds. ... I still think he had a gun.”
Latest accountIn the July 8 letter to the OSBI, Ersland wrote that he shot Parker again after Parker cursed him and tried to get up by grabbing a bookcase. He wrote that he had just run back into the pharmacy after trading shots with the other robber outside. He wrote that a guy in a green car said, "He’s getting up!” "As the robber in the corner began to climb up the bookcase with his right hand, he yelled, ‘---- you,’ and slipped on the floor, so I saw my chance to end the threat and went for the back-up gun and shot him just as he slid down on the slippery surface,” he wrote to the OSBI. "I was experiencing a tremendous amount of adrenaline.” Prosecutors say they have a medical opinion and crime-scene evidence that will prove Parker never regained consciousness after the head shot. The state’s chief medical examiner has said Parker suffered a brain injury from the head shot but would have survived. The five final shots were to the chest and abdomen. The video does not show Parker after he was knocked down. Early in the case, prosecutors and police pointed out that the video contradicts what Ersland at first said to police officers and news reporters. Most significantly, officials contend, the video and physical evidence prove that there was no shoot-out inside the store, that the pharmacist was the only one who fired. Officials also say the video shows that only one robber had a gun, that Parker was unarmed. The video shows Parker putting on and adjusting his mask when he gets shot the first time. Ersland told police both robbers were shooting at him inside the store. He said they were armed with cheap black imported revolvers. The video also contradicts Ersland’s claim to police and to a KFOR-4 television reporter that he had a gun in each hand as he fired at the robbers. In May, Ersland told KFOR-4, "They were shooting at me from both sides so I shot at them from both sides as well. I don’t see any problem with telling the truth.” The video shows Ersland never held the two guns at the same time. Ersland acknowledged in the interview with The Oklahoman that some things he told police the night of the shooting were wrong, but he said it was not intentional. He said stress and adrenaline "made my memory cloudy for a while.” He said, "That night, I did give some inaccurate information but, at the time, I thought it was the truth.” Prosecutors have identified a teenager and two men with prison records as accomplices in the robbery. The three, Jevontia Ingram, 14, Emanuel D. Mitchell, 31, and Anthony D. Morrison, 43, also are charged with first-degree murder.
Ongoing coverage: Pharmacy shooting