Ersie Joyner: Retired Oakland police captain recovering after deadly gas station shootout

A retired Oakland police captain involved in a deadly shootout was recovering in the hospital on Friday after he was shot during a robbery that left one suspect dead and another injured from the gunfire.

Ersie Joyner, who retired from the department two years ago after a 28-year career, was in stable condition at Highland Hospital in the intensive care unit. Most recently, he owned a cannabis company. 

Joyner's exact injuries were not made public.

"I join many, many people in praying for a full recovery," said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, who met with Joyner's family at the hospital Thursday as he underwent surgery.

"We've seen for many years the passion and effectiveness with which Capt. Joyner worked to prevent gun violence," Schaaf said.

MORE: Retired Oakland police captain wounded, 1 other killed during gas station gun battle

The former head of the anti-violence Ceasefire program and homicide unit was wounded about 1 p.m.  Thursday during a robbery at a Chevron station in the 1700 block of Castro Street in West Oakland, police said, although they didn't disclose what was stolen. 

Joyner was pumping gas when three suspects pulled up in a black car and attempted to rob him at gunpoint around 1 p.m., sources told KTVU, which was corroborated in part by surveillance video at the gas station. 

After one of the assailants opened the doors to his Porsche, Joyner pulled his own gun and opened fire, hitting and killing one of the suspects and injuring another, the video shows. Two of the suspected robbers returned fire and injured Joyner.  On the video, the dead man's companions try briefly to drag him to their car, then give up and drive away in a black sedan. 

The video suggests at least a fourth person was involved, who acted as a getaway driver. 

The identity of the alleged robber who died is being withheld until his family is notified. Several entertainment sites have identified him as a Vallejo rapper.

This death marks Oakland's 115th homicide of 2021. 

Ret. Oakland Police Capt. Ersie Joyner interviewed by KTVU on Aug. 28, 2018. (KTVU FOX 2)

"This hits deep, absolutely," said Oakland City Councilmember Loren Taylor, who came to Highland Hospital after hearing about Joyner's injuries. "Someone who dedicated his life to keeping other people safe, to have this happen to him, where he is the victim of violent crime, it's tragic."  

At an evening news conference, Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong said it was early in the investigation. He did not explicitly confirm the identity of the victim, only saying the victim is a "retired officer" who is "lawfully able to carry a firearm."

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Armstrong spoke of the surveillance video that had already surfaced and was made public by various media outlets. He said the video was clear and a key part of their investigation.

"This highlights the violence that we've seen in this city this entire year. We have seen so many tragic situations. We have seen so many people lose their lives as a result of violence," Chief Armstrong said. "This again shows us how brazen individuals involved in this activity can be."

Over his career, Joyner was involved in five shootings as an officer, one of which led to an inquiry and settlement. He is married with two children. 

"He committed no crime," said KTVU legal analyst Michael Cardoza. "In fact, he should be tagged a hero. In fact, he's a hero for what he did."

Cardoza said Joyner had every right to defend himself.

"He also had a right to pursue fleeing felons who were armed and dangerous," Cardoza said. "After all, they could go on with this crime spree and kill other people."