Thursday, May 28, 2009

Pharmacy Shooter Charged With Murder has the whole story (h/t AztecRed).

An Oklahoma City pharmacist was charged today with first-degree murder in the May 19 shooting death of a would-be robber.

Chickasha resident Jerome Ersland, 57, surrendered about noon, his attorney, Irven Box, said. He is being held without bail in the Oklahoma County Jail.

Box thinks a jury will exonerate Ersland.

The charge alleges Ersland shot Antwun Parker, 16, while he was incapacitated and lying on his back. Ersland’s account of the incident doesn’t match the video or the evidence collected at the scene, according to the affidavit written by Oklahoma City Police Detective David Jacobson.

Parker was shot once in the head and five times in the stomach area. The autopsy found Parker was still alive after the head shot and died from the stomach wounds.

Now, if that's an accurate description of what happened, is there anybody who could support the shooter? Is there anyone who would consider this anything less that murder? I would think not, but then I happened to come across what Aztec Red had to say about it.

Initially, this was a good shoot and perfectly within Oklahoma's Castle Doctrine. However, Mr. Ersland went beyond-self defense when he shot an incapacitated person an additional 5 times.

His second mistake was talking too much. Mr. Ersland spent way too much time talking to the press and as a result, there is a record of his account of the event that doesn't match the surveillance video. After a self-defense shooting, the after reporting the incident, any further talking you do on the subject should be done through your lawyer.

As if that's not enough, our friend and fairly frequent commenter, Aztec Red goes on to advise folks expecting to find themselves in the situation that Mr. Ersland did, to use a larger calibre gun. I'm absolutely appalled, but I must admit, not all that surprised by his response.

Calling murder "a mistake," advising defensive-gun shooters not to talk about the incident and recommending heavier firepower in order to avoid the whole mess, are the exact attitudes I often accuse pro-gun folks of having. I've been viciously attacked for making such claims. I've been assured these blood-thirsty types are the rarest of the rare.

What's your opinion? Are the attitudes Mr. Aztec demonstrates on his blog typical? Are you in agreement with him in supporting the pharmacist in this nasty shooting?

The defense attorney thinks the Oklahoma jury will exonerate his client. Lawyers always say that, but the sad fact is in Oklahoma it just might happen.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.


  1. I hope I'm on that jury... NOT GUILTY!!!!!

  2. Ain't no reason to empty your gun into someone who is robbing you and not firing back ... "stopping" them is always best, and one or two non-fatal shots should be sufficient for that.

    The problem is, anger and fear totally take over in such situations... which is your whole point about guns, right?

  3. If the charges are an accurate account of what happened then yes, he murdered the kid.

    In a defensive situation you shoot only as a last resort and you shoot to stop the threat. If you walk up and shoot someone who's incapacitated and / or clearly no longer a threat then you are not doing so in "self-defense" you are murdering someone who's not a threat.

  4. "Ain't no reason to empty your gun into someone who is robbing you and not firing back ... "stopping" them is always best, and one or two non-fatal shots should be sufficient for that."Actually it just so happens that "stopping the threat" often means immediate incapacitation and yes, death. He doesn't have to be "firing back" to be a threat. If he is still advancing towards me (especially with a weapon) then he's still a threat and further shots are justified.

    In this situation however (assuming the charges are correct) he was no longer a threat.

    Let's take an example. Guy tries to rob you, you get off 2 rounds center mass to his chest. If he goes down, is no longer armed, and makes no more aggressive movements towards you then shooting him would not be justified.

    If however, he fell to his back and proceeded to raise his weapon then he's still a threat.

    We don't have the video evidence in this case, but given that he's being charged with murder it is absolutely possible that this was NOT an OK defensive shooting. That's for a jury to decide, since they have the all imporant evidence that we don't.

  5. No. I don't recommend "heavier firepower in order to avoid the whole mess".

    I recommend "heavier firepower" because it's more effective. Especially against larger, more determined threats.

    The next person who is robbed may not have the "luxury" of being robbed by a bantam weight 16 year old.

  6. The video troubles me, and if it is actually as it appears, the pharmacist is partially to blame.

    However, there are a couple things to consider--He didn't shoot an innocent choirboy, but at minimum the accomplice to an armed robbery. The other is that I've seen equally damning dashcam footage of police shootings, only to see them from another angle that exonerates the officers.

    I think it likely that the pharmacist went too far here, but it isn't first degree murder--He was still in the heat of passion.

  7. Mike W. beat me to it.

    The 1st shot to the head was justified. He was no longer a threat after being crainally perforated. Coming back and shooting a motionless person in the gut is not self defense.

    This is not just my personal opinion, it is a matter of established law.

  8. Daisy, Thanks for your comment, including this:

    "The problem is, anger and fear totally take over in such situations... which is your whole point about guns, right?"That's definitely one of my points. Thanks for noticing it. I feel that too many of the folks who arm themselves are not qualified to do so. This story is a case in point. And Aztec Red's reaction to it as well as that Anonymous commenter who said he hopes he's on the jury, further prove my point. It's a jungle out there, and these guys are making it worse.

  9. First off, I am not a paranoid person, however, I would not speak to the police in any capacity unless I had an attorney present. Secondly only an idiot talks to the press. Even if I had been a witness to the events I would want an attorney, and I would avoid the press. This is common sense. I am sorry Mike, but seriously how many times has the press taken an innocent statement and warped it? As for the police, I do not trust them. They assume things about people based on reaction. If a person embellishes a statement they take it as fact. I will not defend this man, they have him on tape committing murder, however perception is reality, and stress (and killing someone is a stressful event for normal people) alters perceptions.

    Now since I have not seen the video, if this guy shot the kid in the stomach five times, after hitting him in the head once, and the kid was incapacitated, I think that meets the legal definition of murder. I just have one question, the video tagged to this entry, is that the shooter? My computer hates videos, so I could not watch it.

  10. Mike I think there's something you're missing.

    This man is a disabled war veteran. Isn't what he did how soldiers are trained to deal with threats? I've certainly read enough stories from Iraq where a "dead" soldier took up a rifle and killed men.

    Of course if the accusations are correct (and frankly from looking at the video, as incomplete as it is it looks as such) shouldn't he be given special consideration because of his stress in the field of combat?

  11. I don't think it's the part about his being a disabled vet that we missed. If I had to guess I'd say it's probably the part about his being a typical racist, classist maniac with a gun. A young black punk dared to violate his sacred territory and the fury of indignation was unleashed. With adrenalin pumping, he saw the attacker vulnerable and blasted him over and over again. It's exactly what he and a lot of you guys are itching to do.

    If this doesn't apply to you then don't try to defend this murderer. He and all the ones like him are making all of you look bad.

  12. "It's exactly what he and a lot of you guys are itching to do."

    No, it's not what a lot of "us guys" are itching to do.

    Repeating your BS over and over doesn't make it any more valid Mike.

    Also, while I do believe that killing an incapacitated man is WRONG it must be noted that this 16year old thug would still be alive today had he not tried to rob Mr. Ersland.

    That doesn't excuse killing someone who's no longer a threat to you, but it is absolutely a mitigating factor should a jury trial come to pass. Unlike you Mike, most people have little to no sympathy for violent criminals, which Parker was.

    No way Ersland will get a murder rap.

  13. "It's exactly what he and a lot of you guys are itching to do."

    Another textbook case of projection. It's not what 'us guys' are 'itching' to do. It's what MikeB would do if he were in the same situation.

    If his claims were true, why isn't it occurring at much higher rates than it does?