BY RAMON ANTONIO VARGAS | STAFF WRITER PUBLISHED JUN 18, 2019 AT 11:42 AM | UPDATED JUN 18, 2019 AT 7:59 PM
Wearing hooded sweatshirts to hide their faces and blue medical gloves that wouldn’t leave fingerprints, two men from Indiana barged into a CVS pharmacy on Prytania Street early Monday, bound two employees with zip ties at gunpoint, and raided a safe containing bottles of pills, according to police.
The men were on their way out when three New Orleans cops who had been called to the store confronted them, prompting a shootout that wounded both robbers and one of the officers, according to police records filed in Orleans Parish Criminal District Court.
The records say officers arrested Alan Parson, 18, after he collapsed in the front yard of a home less than two blocks away. Nearly three hours later, police found Richard Sansbury, 26, hiding a little more than a block away from that spot.
The court records provide the fullest account yet of the violence that erupted in a 24-hour drugstore in a normally quiet area of neighborhood shops and restaurants.
Multiple law enforcement sources said authorities are investigating whether Parson and Sansbury — both from Indianapolis — may have been involved in prior pharmacy robberies in other states. New Orleans police haven’t confirmed whether that may be the case.
After a robbery last year at a CVS in Jonesboro, Arkansas, KASU Radio there reported that federal authorities were looking into whether that holdup was the work of an Indianapolis-based ring sending members across the country to steal opioids from the chain’s stores.
After being treated at a New Orleans hospital along with the wounded officer, Sansbury and Parson each face counts of armed robbery with a firearm, false imprisonment with a weapon and attempted first-degree murder of police. Bail for each was set at more than $1 million.
Police allege that Sansbury pulled a gun from his waistband after he and Parson entered the store about 6:05 a.m. Monday. Sansbury went behind a cash register, zip-tied a clerk and led that employee to the store’s office, out of view of surveillance cameras, police said.
Meanwhile, Parson headed for the pharmacy, forced a second employee to the floor and zip-tied that person’s feet, police said. He then began to pack “a large trash bag with several pill bottles which he was removing from the safe in the pharmacy area of the store,” the court records said.
Sansbury joined Parson in the pharmacy section within two minutes and began “removing several … medical supplies,” according to the documents. They had filled their bag within five minutes of their arrival and started making their way to the front door, police said.
However, three uniformed officers were waiting for them in the front of the store, pointing guns and ordering them to surrender.
Sansbury and Parson retreated toward the rear of the pharmacy, doubled back to the front and began trading gunfire with officers, police said.
An officer who has not been identified was struck in the upper left shoulder. The two robbers then managed to slip out of the store and began running toward a residential neighborhood across Prytania, police said.
Parson collapsed in the 1300 block of Lyons Street. After cordoning off the area, heavily armed officers with police dogs found Sansbury hiding in a yard in the 1100 block of Upperline Street just before 9 a.m., police said.
Paramedics took both Sansbury and Parson to the hospital while officers brought their wounded colleague there. All were reported to be in stable condition later Monday.