Oklahoma City druggist faces charge in shooting

BY JAY F. MARKS Modified: May 28, 2009 at 2:09 pm •  Published: May 28, 2009
An Oklahoma County pharmacist went from hero to murder suspect in the span of seconds during a May 19 robbery attempt, prosecutors said.

Chickasha resident Jerome Jay Ersland was charged Wednesday with first-degree murder in the death of a robbery suspect.

Antwun Parker, 16, was unarmed and incapacitated when he was fatally shot by Ersland, Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater said.

Ersland, 57, shot Parker in the head when he and another masked man tried to rob Reliable Discount Pharmacy, 5900 S Pennsylvania Ave.

Ersland chased the other suspect out of the store before returning to retrieve a second gun. Then he shot the prone Parker five more times in the abdomen, Prater said, citing evidence at the scene and surveillance video from inside the pharmacy.

Prater said Ersland was justified in shooting Parker the first time, but he crossed the line when he continued shooting at the unconscious teen.

"Here’s the ironic part: if the first shot had been fatal, we wouldn’t be here,” he said.

Defense attorney Irven Box said Ersland, an Army veteran with disabilities, was acting in self-defense.

"Until you’re confronted by two masked men with guns, you don’t know what you’ll do,” Box said. "He thought he was doing what he needed to do.”

Box expects a jury to see things Ersland’s way.

Ersland is jailed without bail after surrendering on the murder charge Wednesday afternoon.

Box said he will ask an Oklahoma County judge this morning to set bail for Ersland.

Self-defense claimed
Ersland has maintained he acted in self-defense when he shot Parker to foil the robbery attempt.

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Read the affidavit of probable cause

No backlash, DA warns

Prosecutors warned against any threats or violence toward murder suspect Jerome Ersland or his employer, Reliable Discount Pharmacy. Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater asked the community to allow the justice system to handle Ersland’s case. Ersland, who was charged Wednesday with first-degree murder in the May 19 shooting death of robbery suspect Antwun Parker, has said he had been assailed by allegations of racism after the shooting. Ersland is white and Parker was black. "Acts of vigilantism will be dealt with swiftly and severely,” Prater said.

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