Okla. Store Employee Praised After Killing Black Teen

Published June 1, 2009

A community of Oklahomans is divided after a planned robbery resulted in a Black youth's death.

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Antwun Parker, 16, was an accomplice in what would've been a hold-up of Reliable Discount Pharmacy in Oklahoma City. But pharmacist Jerome Ersland, 57, shot Parker in the head and chased another teen gunman from the store. It would've likely been an open-and-shut case of self-defense, but Ersland took things a step further: After failing to catch Jevontia Ingram, who fled after holding a pistol on employees, Ersland returned to the store, got another gun from behind the counter and filled Parker with five more bullets.

The teen was unarmed and unconscious from Ersland's first shot. The final set of bullets killed Parker, who'd already been rendered harmless.

A White military vet, Ersland is free on bond after being charged with first-degree murder. The anonymous donor, who paid for Ersland's freedom, is one of a number who say his actions were justified. Conservative radio talk shows and citizens who've sent cards and checks to the killer, praise him as a hero. As of last week, Ersland had received $2,000 in donations.

But the NAACP, conversely, praises the prosecutor for filing charges. Upon seeing store camera footage of the May 19 incident, Parker's mother says she was shocked. She admits that Parker, who she called "Speedy," had fallen in with "the wrong crowd," yet she says Ersland "didn't have to shoot my baby like that."

The 14-year-old gunman and two others who reportedly helped plan the robbery are also charged with first-degree murder, since their alleged actions led to Parker's death.

Written by BET.com Staff

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