The Real Victims of Pharmacy Robberies
An issue that has been troubling is the rise of armed robberies on pharmacists for prescription narcotics. How to protect the pharmacists and the customers while maintaining the patient relationship has been a widely discussed issue in the industry.
Bullet proof glass is often offered up as an answer, but it removes the interpersonal care and communication that’s often necessary between a pharmacist and their patients. When elderly patients, cancer victims, and the like have to come in on a regular basis, it may be one of the few human interactions that they have. It may be because of their illness or age, but often they don’t understand what is being prescribed to them because of how quickly they are rushed through the healthcare system.
Pharmacies often serve as the last line of information of the system to the patient. No one wants a depressed cancer patient to feel more isolated than they already are. If they have questions, they need to feel comfortable asking them. This however has changed dramatically in the last 20 years. More and more pharmacies are erecting bullet proof glass and emergency metal screens. It was only time before drug dealing opportunists and drug addicts realized they could rob the source of drugs instead of robbing others to buy the drugs.
Over the last two years, there’s been an ongoing case of an Oklahoma City pharmacist named Jerome Ersland who returned fire during an attempted robbery. A 14 year old Jevontai Ingram and a 16 year old Antwun Parker were convinced by two men Emanuel D. “E Man” Mitchell, 33, and Anthony D. “Black” Morrison, 45, to rob the pharmacy. The two older men waited in getaway cars and had the teenagers run in to do it.
Jevontai Ingram came into the store with a handgun out and screamed out demands. While putting on a mask, Antwun Parker came into the store with the Jevontai Ingram. Parker wasn’t armed with a gun. It was 15 minutes until closing and the pharmacist Jerome Ersland was working with two female employees. Shots were fired at Ersland, and he returned fire.
Ersland, who was legally carrying a concealed weapon, shot Parker in the head and chased Ingram out of the store. Ersland came back into the store, walked past Parker who was on the ground, retrieved a different gun from behind the counter, and shot Parker five more times. This all happened in a span of a couple minutes.
In the last month, Ersland was convicted of first degree murder. The two men who plotted the scheme, Mitchell and Morrison, were also convicted of first degree murder. The 14 year old Ingram who fired the gun at the pharmacists pled guilty. Now 16 years old, he was sentenced to a juvenile facility and will be released before his 19th birthday.
Without access to the evidence, it’s hard to speculate whether Parker was still a threat after being shot in the head. Did it look like he was still a threat and was reaching for a weapon? Was Parker already dead when he got shot 5 more times? It can’t even be determined if Ersland, a former Army and Air Force officer who served in Desert Storm, came back and killed Parker in cold blood or if he was still in the heat of the moment when he came back and shot Parker.
There is one thing that can be determined without evidence. Antwun Parker’s mother Cleta Jennings is the worst kind of opportunist that there is in this country. She is on record calling her son a hero. She does not feel that her son was a masked robber even though he had a mask and was involved in an armed robbery. She claims he was just a 16 year old kid who was a good person and that he was forced into the situation by Mitchell and Morrison.
She is now suing everyone involved in the situation. She has repeatedly claimed her son is the victim and that she, the mother, is a victim. Society is in some type of Twilight Zone where criminals and their families constantly portray themselves to be victims and not the perpetrators. Other people are to blamed. Society is always to blamed. The government is blamed. Their entire lives and the culmination of all their suffering is blamed for the one action that led to their appearance in court.
The excuse is always some variation of… “If it weren’t for this life and these other people, this person would have never done this. He/she is a good person.”
Antwun Parker might have never been a criminal before this act. He might have been a straight A student. He might have gone to church every day. But he made the decision to commit a crime. Even if Mitchell and Morrison threatened to kill Parker if Parker didn’t participate, Parker still had the chance to say no. He could have chosen to be the good person his mother claims he was. He could have valued other people’s lives as much as he valued his own, but he didn’t. He put his life and desires above others and participated in an armed robbery. He is not a victim. In that moment, he was a selfish criminal.
Before every bad decision anyone has ever made while sober, there’s been a moment where they had the choice between their selfish desires and the risk they was taking. These young men were not under the influence of any drugs. There was no evidence of mental disability. While it is understandable that a 9 year old child with an underdeveloped brain might not be able to properly factor the true risks over the personal benefits, but a 16 years old, who is a sophomore or junior in high school, clearly knows the risk that a gun creates.
Cleta Jennings is in extreme denial and she’s a disgusting opportunist exploiting the death of her son. As the mother of the deceased young man, she played a huge role in shaping a life that chose to put other lives at risk. She wants to frame him as a good person so she can deny any responsibility in raising a child who committed a crime. If she is a true Christian woman, she would know that her God gave everyone free will. If your Christian God doesn’t force you to do anything, Mitchell and Morrison couldn’t force her son to do anything. If she were a true Christian woman, she would have not jubilantly thanked Jesus during the conviction of Ersland.
Her Christian God asks all people to be forgiving and merciful and that justice will be done at God’s hands. She has not shown any forgiveness or mercy. She has shown denial. She places blame. She not only has made a mockery of the justice system with her exploitative and frivolous lawsuits; she has made a mockery of her own Christian faith.
Antwun Parker is not a hero. He is not a victim. He is a young man who died because he chose to commit a crime. Cleta Jennings might have been a terrific mother who did a great job in raising her son. She might very well also be a victim in this situation. She lost her son to a situation beyond her control. Yet, there shouldn’t be sympathy for her because she is also choosing to be an exploitative opportunist.
The real victims are the ill patients who need medication, help, and guidance in their healthcare but have to deal with the consequences of criminal behavior. The real victims are the tax payers who have to foot the bill for the criminal actions of these “good people”.
Unlike people who work at banks who can often deny that they have access to the safes, pharmacists have access to exactly what these criminals want. They have to work in fear because of criminals like Cleta Jennings’ son.
There are four pharmacy school graduates in my family, my brother is currently finishing up his degree, and I have friends who are pharmacists. I don’t want to see any of them die for a pile of pills because some “hero” is willing to kill them for it.