2 charged by US in pharmacy robbery, police gunfight
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Two men arrested last month in the robbery of a New Orleans pharmacy and shooting of a police officer now face federal charges.
Federal court records show 26-year-old Richard Sansbury and 18-year-old Alan Parson were indicted Thursday. Charges include “conspiracy to commit robbery involving a controlled substance” and “discharge of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence.”
The robbery happened in June. Police said two men entered a pharmacy in New Orleans’ uptown area. They zip-tied the hands of a cashier and a pharmacist then began stealing drugs. Police arrived, resulting in a gunfight that wounded one officer and both suspects.
Both are in jail facing state charges including attempted first-degree murder of a police officer. They have not yet entered pleas. Information on their attorneys was unavailable.
U.S. Attorney Peter Strasser said during an afternoon news conference that the men had carefully planned the robbery.
“They knew that they were doing,” Strasser said. “They went in at a point in time that the pharmacy was doing its shift switchover from the night shift to the day shift. The safes were open. The drug inventory was being taken.”
But, Strasser said, the men didn’t know another person was in the store. That person called police, who arrived in three minutes and confronted the men as they tried to leave the store. About 40 shots were fired in the gun battle. The suspects, as well as one officer, were hit.
One was captured on the scene, another was found a couple of hours later and a weapon used was found by a police dog. The dog was present at the news conference.
Police said the men came to New Orleans from Indianapolis. The indictment said they were involved in a conspiracy involving others not yet publicly identified. Strasser said the decision to seek federal charges was meant to send a message.
“This is a message for anybody from Indianapolis or any other city in the United States that wants to come here to commit armed violent crimes, who want to steal drugs, who shoot at our police officers: You’re going to be charged federally, and if convicted, you’re going to be spending a large portion of your life in federal prison.”
Conviction on the firearm charge could mean life in prison, said Strasser, who was accompanied at the news conference by other federal authorities and New Orleans police Chief Shaun Ferguson.